Out Of The Past 4

Stopping The Rot

August 12, 2008
7:55 AM CDT

Finally, someone has taken a stand:

A judge flew into a rage in court yesterday after being presented with a charge sheet littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

In an extraordinary outburst at the Old Bailey, Judge David Paget bemoaned declining standards of written English and branded a bureaucrat from the Crown Prosecution Service an ‘illiterate idiot’.

In the papers, the official had consistently misspelt the word ‘grievous’, four times accusing the defendant of ‘greivous bodily harm’.

The judge also slammed the bureaucrat for stating that the defendant had used an offensive weapon, ‘namely axe,’ instead of ‘namely an axe’.

After reading the charge sheet the judge threw the papers down on to the bench in disgust and fumed: ‘It’s quite disgraceful. This is supposed to be a centre of excellence. To have an indictment drawn up by some illiterate idiot is not good enough.’

That noise you hear in the background is thunderous applause from the Literate Nation.

I am so sick of seeing misspellings in public documents (to say nothing of in newspaper articles). And for those who would substitute the stupidity of “alternative spelling”, allow me to castigate them as fucking morons.

I don’t mind the occasional misstep, especially in a live format like blogs or comments thereto. What I detest is repetitive misspelling—because to me, that indicates a drift towards illiteracy. And I don’t excuse “their” for “there” (and vice-versa), “your” for “you’re” (ditto), or any of the onomatopoeic blunders which bedevil the English language.

I am especially harsh when people refuse to use basic spellchecking software when they have it available.

Words are important. Spelling is important: it’s a basic tenet of communication that the people doing the communicating have a common method of discourse—did I say “basic tenet”? I meant axiomatic.

Spelling is the first building block—some would say the foundation—of shared language. To litter the place with “alternatives” at best slows the communication process down (like trying to decipher “cn i haz yr tlno?”), and at worst it undermines the language itself.

And don’t give me that shit about how English is a “fluid” language or any of that jive. I have no problem with introducing a new word to the English language, especially when an equivalent is non-existent; but if a perfectly decent descriptive word already exists, why clutter the language with a bunch of “near-spellings” which serve only to confuse, and render the lazy the equivalent of the diligent?


Out Of The Past 3

Separate But Equal

November 12, 2008
11:16 AM CDT

A German Kurd looks at “parallel” societies within a single country:

The largest group in Germany with an immigrant background – after the Aussiedler or ethnic German resettlers – are the Turks, who were once recruited as guest workers and, unlike many Portuguese, Spanish and Greek economic migrants, did not return to their native country. These people of Turkish origin have now lived in this country for half a century. That would be a success story in itself if the following problem did not exist: many of them are not culturally, religiously, economically, socially or politically integrated. That creates an atmosphere of mutual critical scrutiny. Many issues have been debated in Germany – from the smell of garlic that allegedly wafts from housing blocks where the majority of tenants are from the Orient and how to tie a headscarf so that it doesn’t allow ambiguous assumptions about someone’s loyalty to the constitution and democracy to ethical controversies about specific slaughtering methods that are traditional in some cultures. Nevertheless, there is no subject that people argue about more passionately than Islam. All in all, you could say that although these debates have been vigorously and tirelessly conducted, people still haven’t really got to know one another even after 50 years. That applies to both sides. We stand on the threshold of the others’ home, as it were, but know nothing about them apart from their name. You may consider that good, you may consider that bad; there are equally good arguments for ignorance as there are for interest.

Here’s what I know: nothing creates friction within a society more quickly, or more certainly, than separate-but-equal mini-societies, who do not share a common language, culture, religion or worldview.

It is, despite the writer’s example of Israel, a recipe for failure. (Israel can have a divided society because it allows its security apparatus a degree of freedom unknown in the West.)

Now, I’m not suggesting some monolithic all-or-nothing nation: far from it. Monolithic cultures, and people who advocate them, tend to lead to State-sponsored activities like public beheadings, extermination camps and mass resettlement/expulsion of “the others”.

But there has to be some kind of glue, some common ground, or else humans, by nature, will always be suspicious of “the others”. This is a genetic impulse which is so deeply implanted in the human psyche as to be fundamental, and not capable of change.

So: what common ground, then?

Religion is pointless—too many imaginary friends, too much subjectivity, and (such as in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states), too much fertile ground for oppression.

Culture is essentially a meaningless basis for a society, especially in a nation of immigrants such as ours, or in a world which has become far smaller since civilization (and its corollary, mechanical progress) increased. We are, in essence, made richer by diverse cultures in a society, as long as one does not exist to the exclusion of the other, or another does not nullify the country’s principle culture.

Language. This is it. Unless people can talk to each other and be understood, there is absolutely no way that hostility and enmity can be prevented, and there is no way that people can come together. And note that I’m not supporting language chauvinism such as has been practiced in France over the years: that way ultimately ends up stultifying not only progress, but the society as a whole. The Language Police are little different, in their rigidity, than the Religious Police.

Note too that I’m not suggesting that retail stores, for example, be disallowed from speaking to their customers in any language they choose—but I am insisting that government should use one, and only one language to communicate with its citizens. (I don’t care, for example, if Mexican immigrants can’t read an IRS form. Call it a “spur to learning”, if you will.) In the long run, while accommodation to non-English-speakers may sound high-minded or even polite, it will end up doing more permanent harm than the temporary inconvenience caused by its opposite policy.

There’s more, of course, a lot more, but that would do for a start.

The very existence of nation-states creates the basis for “parallel societies”—but to create a microcosm of that situation within a nation will simply bring the global turmoil and enmity to people’s front door, instead of keeping it outside the borders.

Quote Of The Day

“Here we are, after nearly 1,500 years of achievement in philosophy, poetry, architecture, science, music, art, and religion, yet we allow cultural troglodytes and other such ‘cool’ types to set the agenda.” — Taki


News Update

Thome pithy commenth about the newth of the day.

1)  Apparently, Commie-In-Chief Nancy Pelosi wants to see President Trump in prison.  — yeah, well I want to see Red Nancy dangling from a lamp post — her, and all the other socialists in Congress So we’ll call it even.

2)   “Why Have the Revered Crocodiles of This Island Nation Suddenly Started Killing People?” —  because they’re fucking crocodiles, and that’s what crocs do?  I’m not even a zoologist, and I can answer that one.  (No link because NY fucking Times)

3)  Amazon Turns To Snitching –and–  Amazon Sending Out The Dronesand if we find out that the two activities are in any way linked, we’re going to need a LOT more shotgun ammo.

4)  Gypsies Take Over Villagenever an errant MOAB when you need one.  (Mr. TrueBrit disagrees with me, says  he wants Vietnam-style napalm carpet-bombing, for maximum suffering.  I like the way he thinks.)

5)  Woman Bites Off Would-Be Rapist’s Tongue(I’d like to comment, but I’m paralyzed with laughter)

6)  Austrian Cops Kick The Shit Out Of Greenie Scumand inexplicably, some people are upset by this.  My only quibble is that they didn’t give climate-scold kiddie Greta Thunberg a new parting for her hair.

7)  Africa Wins Again — anyone have an idea of how much meat a dozen lions can eat?

Quote Of The Day

From Peter Hitchens, writing about a Britain where there are few societal institutions left, where common decency has all but disappeared, where the underclass (and its ethos) becomes the Zeitgeist, and the State cannot and will not fulfill even its most basic functions:

“…this gives a sense that there’s really nothing underneath any more, and if you fall through a gap, you’ll fall for ever.”

We’re not far behind, either.