Thursday, May 1, 2014

Three Things

Did you miss me? I missed you.

My mother and youngest sister visited recently, and reading and writing, including blogging, went out the window. I’m not apologizing. My mom’s 89, and I’m going to take advantage of every minute I have with her.

That said, I’m back and have three things on my mind.

  1. Is It Real or Is It Memorex?
On Tuesday, I recorded The Voice because I knew I wouldn’t be free to watch it at its starting time. Once the recorded show began, the drama of the bottom three finalists sucked me in. Twitter would save one of them! Carson Daly urged viewers to tweet to save their favorite. I’ll do it, Carson! I tweeted to save Kat. After I hit SEND, my husband gave me a sideways look. “We recorded this show, remember? The voting window closed a long time ago.” Sorry, Kat! (Luckily, the rest of America saved her.) 

Did a recorded show ever make a fool of you?

2. Smart Is Beautiful

George Clooney is engaged to marry Amal Alamuddin, a 36-year-old human rights lawyer who speaks three languages. Mackenzie Dawson, writing in the New York Post, applauds Clooney’s choice and speaks for me and every other mother of smart women. There’s no greater aphrodisiac than a happy woman with a full life, who is passionate about something besides getting a ring on her finger. Just ask George Clooney.” Here’s the link. 

3. Only Connect!
I wince at billboards with misspelled/misused words and regularly remind students they’re isn’t the same as their and neither one’s a stand-in for there. Nevertheless, if we adults want kids to read, write, and speak their native language with fluency, we have to stop our slang-induced sniffs and knock it off with the disapproving looks.

In this New York Times article, John McWhorter argues the verbal tic like and the newish adverb totally do not degrade the language. Instead, they show the speaker’s/writer’s desire to connect. Here’s McWhorter:  . . . amid what often seems like the slack-jawed devolution of a once-mighty language, we can find evidence for, of all things, a growing sophistication. Yes, sophistication — even in the likes of, well, “like,” used so prolifically by people under a certain age. We associate it with ingrained hesitation, a fear of venturing a definite statement. Yet the hesitation can be seen less as a matter of confidence than one of consideration. 
Do you think language is meant to, like, morph? Do you totally applaud the Alamuddin/Clooney engagement?



10 comments:

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Language is definitely a living, changing entity! I find it interesting that some countries (France, for example) have a government board that oversees what new terms can be added to the language, never mind that people use them anyway, with or without that approval.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
L'Academie fran├žaise has its work cut out for it because you're right, people don't need official approval to use slang, foreign words, or make up words.

Speaking of change, how's the new puppy?

Liz Flaherty said...

Your Twitter "vote" reminds me of how often we sit through commercials on DVRed shows...

Hurrah for smart women everywhere. I liked that article, though it did seem the commenters took exception with the woman in question being beautiful as well as smart.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Liz,
Hi, Liz,
Some of the comments on newspaper sites, Huffpost, and other big places terrify me. Who are these people? Interesting and interested people have a beauty all their own. Ah, but I'd like to get a visual of some of these people who don't think Alamuddin's attractive enough for Clooney. How many heads do they turn?

You know, if we didn't run a commercial or two on DVRed shows, the laundry would never make it from the washer to the dryer.

Coleen Patrick said...

Hi Pat! Glad you got to spend time with your mom.
Almost all of the TV I watch has been previously recorded. I'm so used to being able to forward that when I go to the movies I sometimes have the urge to forward parts. :)
I've always been a Clooney fan, so still processing this news...

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Coleen,
I wish real life gave us options like pause, fast forward and go back.

You'll come to terms with Clooney's engagement. Give it time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Pat,

When you say "speaks for me and every mother of smart women" you appear to be inadvertently excluding yourself as a smart woman (i.e., your daughters are smart and you may or may not be). At least that's how I read it. But of course you're a smart woman.

Smart women really turn men on.

It might not be apparent, but in the mating game its women who select men and not vice-versa. Men can pursue but ultimately its the woman who selects or rejects.

So even though Clooney is considered very desirable by many women, its really his fiance who is ultimately selecting him - if she weren't interested in him he could pursue her all he wants but would never get anywhere. This is my personal theory and I always catch hell for it.

I'm not a language purist but I do lament the use of many English words which have found their way into other languages. It somehow diminishes a language when it borrows too much from other languages but this is a trend that can't be stopped and its silly to try and fight it. The purpose of language is to communicate and who needs language police?

A few years ago a famous Mexican writer rewrote Cervantes' Don Quixote in Spanglish. It caused an uproar in the world of Spanish literature but I don't think the Mexican writer (Ivan Stavans) had any malicious intent, I think he was just trying to show how this great work of literature might appear in a modern day argot which, for better or worse, is spoken by a lot of people.

And yes, I did miss you.

- Pat

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
Since I'm married and out of contention for an engagement ring, I didn't think to tout my smartness. On the other hand, now I'm wondering if I inadvertently used my post to advertise my daughters' smartness and this bring them suitors? Uh oh, they're going to kill me.

Have you noticed how many Britishisms are creeping into American English? Yesterday, I told someone I'd "sorted" a problem.

Did Don Quixote in modern argot win over younger readers or did they consider it a gimmick?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Pat,

Yes, I think you were setting your daughters up for potential suitors - better find a way to back pedal on this one!

See below the quote from Wikipedia on Ilan Stavans translation of Don Quixote into Spanglish:

In 2002, Stavans published in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia a Spanglish translation of the first chapter of Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha. The translation has been controversial throughout the world, garnishing celebrations and attacks. Critics accuse Stavans of using Spanglish to call attention to himself. Supporters say that the translation is an indication that the Latino community in the United States has come of age. Stavans has responded to the reactions with interviews in which he argues that Spanglish is today’s manifestation of “mestizaje,” the crossbreeding of racial, social, and cultural traits of Anglos and Latinos similar to what occurred during the colonization of the Americas in the sixteenth century.

I can top "sorting" a problem, I recently told someone I visited a friend who was in "hospital" (without the definite article). Really sounded weird.

- Patrick

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
We Americans like our definite articles, don't we. "In university" never sounds right to me unless it's delivered in a British or Irish accent.