Throughout my life, I have loved different people and things, and I’ve gone through phases and trends like any other normal person my age. Now that I’m older, though, I have whittled my passions down to only four. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy other activities or people, but I know what is nearest and dearest to my heart. Those things are, in no particular order: my family, Dan (Boyfriend Scott unveiled), tea, and writing.
For those of you who haven’t noticed, writing is sort of a hobby of mine. Ideally, I’d like to channel my love for writing in to a career, but opportunities in that field are few and far between; especially for a long suffering college student who still hasn’t managed to pick up her degree. In any case, it’s something I love to do and happen to care a lot about. Also, to clarify, when I say “writing”, I actually mean an all encompassing arena that includes both reading and researching. It’s all part of the same package. To write well, you have to know your subject. To know your subject, you have to research it… which means a lot of reading. Even if it’s not something a person enjoys or is good at, I believe that writing in general aids tremendously with intelligence and vocabulary.
Unless, of course, you refuse to acknowledge the importance of our language.
If that sounds a little silly to you, congratulations. It should. Language is certainly important. It’s how we communicate; it’s how get our points across. It effects how others perceive and understand us. It may not be as universal as math or science, but if it weren’t for words, we’d be reduced to grunting monosyllabically and drawing pictures in the dirt. Which is fine, I guess, if you’re in to that sort of thing. Also, by fine I actually mean “sad”.
As with most things in life, English comes with its own set of rules. I know it’s part of human nature to rebel against rules and question authority, but when it comes to writing, I ask you this: What exactly is the point? What is the point of spelling words like a child inclined to scrawl his letters backward? What is the point of leaving out punctuation when punctuation does, in fact, help people to understand what the hell you are trying to say? I promise to whoever is reading this that I am not big on judging, and I am by no means a grammar snob. If someone doesn’t want to take the time to write well, or if they have not received the kind of education that would lend itself to their writing savvy, it is certainly not for me to condemn. When someone decides to publicly insult those of us who do take care when penning even trivial things (such as “status updates”), however, I believe the topic becomes fair game.
No, Facebook updates are not “research papers”. In that, at least, the anonymous Facebook user to which I am referring is correct. As to his other claim that people who use proper spelling and punctuation are douche bags, though, I must disagree.
You see, I love my language. English and I go way back. This is why you will never see me abbreviate “you” to a one letter ambassador of its former self. You will never see me abbreviate whole phrases to unnecessary acronyms (i.e. “OMG”). That’s just not me. As a matter of fact, since I am so accustomed to writing things correctly, it would take more thought not to. Muscle memory and habit being two reasons for that. I fail to see how this makes me a douche bag, and I am left wondering if this Facebook user is acquainted with the guy who thinks I’m an asshole for not eating chicken even though I’m a vegetarian. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It just so happens that an appreciation of grammar does exist outside of school. It is less and less common, though, which I feel is kind of a dismal social commentary. Personally, I am proud of my skills and of my education. If my parents don’t yet have their daughter’s degree to show for all the billions they’ve spent on my schooling… well, at least they can have this. I can write and speak well, and I can represent myself and my family with graceful aptitude. Since I can, I figure I might as well.
That doesn’t make me a douche bag. That just makes me awesome.
Now, the truth of the matter is that my opinion on the subject is much harsher than I’m really willing to voice on a blog. I will say that I think writing is becoming something of an old world art, and that this is having a profound impact on how we interact with one another. It’s beginning to translate to other areas of our lives, and it’s exactly forums like Facebook where the break down starts. We stop taking care with little things, and then the bigger things don’t seem as big. Messages are getting shorter and less personal. People are forgetting the importance of presenting themselves with class and poise and, to be honest, I find it to be a bit tragic. I will always believe that eloquence and cleverness recommend a person better than most anything else. I’m not perfect at this, but I do put in an effort every day.
If you are not like me and happen to not take these things to heart, I am not trying to put you down. Like I said, I really don’t judge. Different people do different things, and not everyone is passionate about writing like I am. It’s perfectly acceptable for it not to be your cup of tea. I will never get on your case for it, much the same as I will never get on anyone’s case for eating meat. As is often the circumstance, it’s not my place or my business. So, for those of you who feel similar to the Facebook user who thinks people like me are douche bags, fine. Just keep quiet about it and let me do my thing, and I’ll let you do yours.
Just don’t pick a fight with me about it, because I’m better with words than you are and will likely come out on top.