I am a grammar nazi, or so I have been told. I am also a spelling nazi. Is there anyone here that is? Also, this is an essay I wrote that I posted at RTVP, and I thought that you guys might get a kick out of it!
The Stoopiding of Peeple.
The other day, while cashing at work, I came across a new product. It was from Lipton’s, one of those microwaveable soup cups. The product name is “Cup-A-Soup”. No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is an “a” in the middle of the name. Now, myself, I was unaware that “of” has an “a” in it. I would—wrongly, apparently—have spelled it “cup o’ soup”. Silly me. How could an English education major have been so very, very wrong?
This thought plagued me for quite some time, replacing my usual thoughts of hatred for my job, and my supervisors; the people who explain my job to me as though they are not sure if I am stupid, or actually emotionally retarded. I kept thinking to myself, “Cup-a-soup? Is this a command of some form? Am I to go out and cup a soup now? If so, how would I go about this? Would I grab a cup and dunk it in a soup? Or perhaps merely hold a bowl of soup in my cupped palm?” The ridiculous, frequently sarcastic thoughts whirled through my brain at a maddening pace. I started to notice more instances of consumer product misspellings. “Cheez-it’s”. “E-Z Cheese”. “Do-nuts”. More and more. I then realized that this is not limited to groceries. There are “all nite drive-thru’s”. “Ye Olde” this and “shoppe” that. Heaven forbid that something be spelled correctly. If the day arises when a store called “Ye Olde All-Nite Drive-Thru Donut Shoppe” opens up, I may actually go insane.
It took me some time, but I finally realized why this loathsome misuse of language bothers me so much. These examples are just representative of the dumbing down of our culture. In its constant efforts to reach the “common man”, corporate North America has seemingly become so uneducated, so “red neck”, that it has lost any and all standards it may once have had. We live in a society where one of the most commonly used (and misused) words, “awesome”, is a word that is meant to describe a feeling of “respect, combined with fear or wonder”.
“That movie was awesome.”
“How was the cake?”
Yes. I am sure that the cake commanded fear, and respect.
This is a downward spiral that has been continuing for some time. We are in a world of spell checkers, of “talking to the people”, of making life “simple”, and all of these aspects lead to the loss of more of our language. The general assumption is that the “people” are uneducated, and therefore need to be treated as such. This tragedy is made even more clear by comparing modern writings, modern language, to those of the past. The words of Shakespeare, Jesus, Plato, and Aristotle, have survived for hundreds, even thousands of years. We still read them and take their meanings to heart today. Why? Because these men spoke to the people? Because they went with the “slang” of their “modern era’s”? Not really. We read these ever-lasting writings not only because language is power, but because these men were well written. They took the language, and used it properly. If Shakespeare were to have written of “Tha stary nite sky”, how many classes, professors, or researchers would devote their lives to the study of his writings? Not too many. This would be because that form of writing commands no respect whatsoever. Nelly sings that “It’s Getting Hot in Herre.” Whatever. I am more concerned that it is getting hot in here.
So to the advertisers at Lipton’s, to the “All Nite Drive Thru” of Wendy’s, I say this. Have fun with your “new, improved” “Cup-A-Soup”. Myself, I am going to indulge in a nice, old fashioned, properly spelled cup of soup.