Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's so like, um, you know, girl stuff

In a generally excellent Meghan Cox Gurdon article about the dumbing down of magazines aimed at girls, we find this wonderful discussion:

It used to be that adults talked about bringing children up, of raising them. Today the mass media, with the tacit support of parents, has largely abandoned any effort to lift children up and instead crouches ever lower to what it thinks is their aesthetic and linguistic level. Slam poet Taylor Mali's witty cri de coeur "Totally like whatever, you know?" aptly laments the pandemic brainlessness this fosters:
Has society become so, like, totally . . . I mean absolutely . . .You know? That we've just gotten to the point where it's just, like . . . whatever! So actually our disarticulation . . .ness is just a clever sort of . . .thing to disguise the fact that we've become the most aggressively inarticulate generation to come along since . . . you know, a long, long time ago!
Clunky bottom-feeding language is, of course, an expression of clunky bottom-feeding thinking. And when you "fun up" language, you trivialize thinking, fueling the already unhelpful suspicion among young teens that someone who talks seriously is ipso facto boring. So what we have is this extraordinary wave of empty, glittering, funned-up teen culture that rushes children into an ersatz maturity--chiefly sexual--and where the only reward is a jaded heart and an empty head.
It's really nothing new. I'm still a who/whom, I/me purist, which had me labeled as a nerd all my life and still drives my husband nuts. Nevertheless, whenever my kids make a grammatical error, I correct them, explaining that they have to learn to speak correctly, so that this knowledge can translate into writing correctly. Once they've mastered these skills, they're free to dumb down their speech when they're with their peers, if that's what they need and want to do for social survival.