Aug 27, 2010

I'm With Stupid

Last night, I did something I swore to myself I would never do.

I... watched The Real Housewives of New Jersey. 

It was something I felt was so beneath me (and yet, I watch The Bachelor/-ette/Pad and Jersey Shore). Yes, I watch some really trashy TV - shows I refuse to tell my husband I'm watching because I'm so embarrassed - but to me, watching Danielle and Theresa (I knew about them already cause they're always all over pop culture websites) was dipping into the lowest puddle of mud and poo there possibly was.

But I'm hooked now. (I love Theresa, by the way. She's hilarious.)

While I was watching the first two episodes of season 2 (I skipped Season 1), I found myself constantly cringing. And to my surprise, it wasn't at the drama, or the trash-talking, or the outlandishly augmented body parts. It was at their blatant disregard and misapplication of the English language.

"I could care less!" screamed Danielle in a scene that found her in her car with her 15- and 8-year-old daughters. "I could care less about not being invited to Caroline's party!" Technically speaking, I inferred that she was speaking the truth. She could care less, because she obviously cared a lot about not being invited. But I knew that wasn't what she meant, and I wondered how many other people (or, let's be honest, how many other women, cause do any men actually watch that show?!) had listened to her rant and said, "COULDN'T care less, you idiot! You COULD NOT care less! You care so little about this situation, the amount you care could not go any lower!" OK, probably no one actually said it aloud like I did, but how many other people even thought it? How many other people even caught it?

So, I thought to myself, "Am I being too judgmental? Or are we (::gasp::) getting stupider?"

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have blown up in the last few years. Email is out; it's all about the text now. Getting your thoughts out as quickly and succinctly as possible is most important, at the cost of correct grammar, spelling and usage of words and phrases. On forums for English Teachers in Japan (I won't mention which forum because you can probably figure it out on your own), the misuse of your and you're, there, their and there, and it's and its is at an all-time high. Maybe I am too judgmental, because I do judge people who don't know the correct way to use these words. We learned them in 3rd grade, people! I understand we all make mistakes sometimes, but it seems to be happening at a rate where it cannot be just simple mistakes. It is stupidity. And it's getting worse.

As the younger generations read less and text more, our language is bound to change and evolve (or regress, depending on your perspective). Maybe I'm stuck in my old ways and soon the grammar rules that I live by will be like speaking Old English. Maybe I'll be a Shakespeare in the time of Mark Twain. But I'd rather be judgmental and correct than slack and stupid. That's just me, I guess.

In the meantime, though, I'm going to be like Theresa and "think positive. Yeah. I'm just going to think positive, and... think positive and... what else means think positive?"

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