Sunday, March 17, 2013

Is the written word devolving?

You know how the whale ancestor started out in the ocean, evolved into a land animal, and then took to the seas once again, becoming the whale? No? Well, look it up.

If I can't write, no one can.
Photo by Kristine Paulus via flickr

Tell me. Is this what the English language coming to? Is it devolving?

First, they tried to ban the exclamation point from all writing! It started with non-fiction, naturally. No journalist worth his salt is going to use one. But fiction? Really? The exclamation point serves a purpose, people!

I listened to the excuses. Truly I did. Your writing should show the emotion. If your writing is strong enough, you don't need to use an exclamation point. I get it. But that doesn't mean the mark isn't useful, can't be useful, and has no place in fiction!

Next they went after the semicolon. And why? Because it's misused that's why. People are putting semicolons between clauses instead of complete sentences. No one ever seems to know how to use them properly in a list. And so, well, if people can't do it right, let's just stop using them altogether and shame authors who know what they're doing and happen to like, nay, love the semicolon!

What's next? The apostrophe! This from London:
A local council in southern England has sparked a grammar war with proposals to ban the apostrophe from its street signs

Are they out of their minds? Yes. Yes, they are.

Why don't we just revert back to ancient Hebrew. Forget spaces. No need for vowels. No punctuation at all. Let's just pttltthrndhpfrthbst. You couldn't read that, could you? Of course you couldn't. No one can. Why do you think people still argue over ancient holy texts today?

Better yet, let's just go back to hieroglyphics! Picture books for everyone! Why bother with words. They're so easily misunderstood and no one knows how to use them properly.

Please don't let English be a whale.

It's enough to make me start sewing again...

I went clothes shopping this weekend. That's never a good thing; but it has to be done once in a while. After an appalling session at Kohl's, I was reminded of Oprah Winfrey.

All of these make me look fat.
Photo by Stefanie Seskin via flickr

I guess this proves that I'll never forget that episode with the pretty girls. There were, maybe, five of them. They sat perched on stools on the stage, their dainty feet crossed at the ankles, backs straight, shiny, silky heads of hair brushed off their shoulders occasionally by their slender, manicured  hands.

"I hate my thighs." Says one in her lilting, agonizingly sweet voice. "I can't stand my nose," says another.

Right. Said I.

But I wasn't in the audience. No one, certainly not Oprah, once stood to call these pretty girls out on their complete and utter bullshit. Not one person was intelligent enough to understand what was going on.

Oprah was trying to tell us that we all have self-image issues, even pretty girls. And here was her proof. Pretty girls who didn't like the way they looked. See? You ugly girls should stop feeling bad about the way you look, because we all do it. Pretty girls see themselves the same way you do when they look in the mirror.

Bullshit. Utter, foul, odorous crap.

How did I know it was horse hockey? It was easy. Girls with self-esteem issues, those who suffer with negative self-images, do not sit up straight. They don't throw back their hair and giggle. They don't sing when they speak.

They slouch. They hide or twist their hair. They mumble.

Girls who are confident sit up straight, do their hair and nails, wear stylish clothes and speak clearly. Because they know damn well they're good enough just the way they are. Those girls up on stage didn't have self-esteem issues. But they're not stupid enough to let other girls know that they know  they're beautiful.

Women in our society are supposed to complain about the way they look. Society tells us we're not good enough. And those of us who know we're not feel sucky about it all the time. The pretty girls know better than to start bragging on their beauty.

No one likes an arrogant little piss, after all.

So, the pretty girls cross their little feet and tell the rest of us, "I know just what you mean. I just hate my ankles. Aren't my ankles the worst?"

Please. You're not helping.

Advice: Don't tell ugly girls you know how they feel. You don't. And don't tell them they're beautiful. They know they're not. Lying to them won't help their self-esteem.

What helps is being honest. If you think they're cute or beautiful say so. But say it that way: I think you're cute. I like the way you look.

Never say, "Don't be stupid, of course you're pretty." Because we can see right through that one.

If you don't think they're pretty, just agree that society sucks. "We're all beautiful in our own way" is one-hundred times better than, "Yeah, I don't like my thighs, so I know just how you feel."

So, anyway, I had to wonder what Kohl's was up to. Not only could I not reach the upper racks to try on some of their clothes (not a stool or grabber in sight), but their clothes looked awful on me, and the lighting in their fitting rooms accented every roll of fat and made me look like some monstrous twisted clay sculpture created by a misogynist. And what was up with all the clearance racks? Talk about damaging to the self-esteem!

Could there be anything worse than standing claustrophobic between racks filled with outdated, unorganized, ratty pieces of cloth, sliding the hangers back one by one, slarrrk, slarrrk, slarrrrrk. Make it stop!

Thanks, Kohl's. For that wonderful shopping experience.

I'm not sure what they're thinking. Could it be that pretty girls look fabulous in those fitting-room mirrors? Somehow, I don't think so. It's as if Kohl's doesn't want any of us to walk away feeling wonderful.

Next stop, Sears. I normally would have gone to JC Penney, but they've ruined it. I used to be able to go to Penney's and come out with a ton of clothes, a new purse, and some shoes--happy dance! But now I wander the aisles in a melancholy, not really understanding what's going on.

Sears has proven to be the new JC Penney*. Clothes! Clothes that not only look nice (and normal--only a few sets of odd prints that only a crazy cat woman would wear--not that I'm not a--oh, never mind) but clothes that fit! Yay! Grabber sticks readily available for the high racks. And lighting that even made me look not like a blob of ugly.

Granted, there was a section of Kardashian clothes that were questionable (especially the tees with Ks on them. Seriously?) but all in all, Sears is the new go-to store. True, I didn't come away talking all high-pitchy like a snot, or flipping my hair.

Bu you can bet I wasn't slouching on my way out.

Shopping is such torment.

*So, here's a shopping update. I'm not saying that this is the first time since I wrote this post that I've gone shopping! I'm just saying, things might be changing. This week I couldn't find a damn thing at Sears, but found a few shirts at least at Penney's. Kohl's is still annoying and I can't figure out why I still go there, but I do. Didn't find anything to buy this time. (07/24/2014)