Ever see the movie? The more I think about it, the more I think it's going to happen and it's really scary. (If you haven't seen it, the premise is that only stupid people procreate---the yuppies are too busy planning when it would be convenient for them and then can't get pregnant because they're too old. Flash forward to the future and everyone's dumb as dirt. It's by Mike Judge, creator of "King of the Hill" and "Beavis and Butthead.") The movie was pretty funny, but made me really, really depressed. If you haven't seen it, I don't know if I recommend watching it. You may never look at things the same again.
My latest encounter with idiots was on the train this morning. There was an ad for Charmin Toilet Paper that read, "We shine where the sun don't." That is grammatically incorrect. If you play that little switcheroo game you learned in elementary school (a simple concept, yet I forget the correct term), you rearrange the sentence to check subject-verb agreement and it reads, "The sun don't shine." It should read, "We shine where the sun doesn't." Who wrote this ad? And why were they paid for it? I also HATE the title of that hip-hip movie called "How She Move." She moveS! Moves!!
Whereas a little slang is okay from time to time, I don't think the Charmin ad was intended for young, urban toilet paper purchasers. And if it was, it shouldn't reinforce poor grammar. I know someone that is an English teacher in middle school. She tells me there are a lot of politics involved in everything and that it's virtually impossible to fail a student or to single someone out when they are doing poorly in class. But, people need to learn these things somewhere. I can't even tell you how many well educated, college graduates confuse "their" and "they're" and commonly misuse I/me (i.e. "here is a picture of John and I"---Do the little game, would you tell someone it's a picture of "I". No! It's a picture of "me").
Where I work (which is a supposedly prestigious federal agency) I see the same things all the time: commas sprinkled into sentences like salt and pepper, people trying to sound intelligent and/or authoritative ("please be advise"), and many "supposeblies." We even had a two-day grammar workshop sponsored by some writing center and those people that went for the second time in two years returned and immediately sent out emails full of errors.
I know by writing this, I am opening myself up to criticism--I'm sure someone will find some errors in this email (especially concerning punctuation)--I'm not claiming to be perfect. I know some people are not native English speakers, have had poor education, or just don't recognize errors because they were never taught the proper way. Blogs, text messaging and IMs probably don't help either. But it really gets me worked up. Maybe too much. Maybe I should finish my morning coffee so the crankiness wears off. Maybe I should stick to writing "Celebrity Death News"?
Thanks for listening to I.