gawker commenters often make me like america. this is in response to a post showing twitter #rulesforgirls, which inspired some people to criticize the tweeters’ grammar.
I agree with the many comenters who’ve criticized the sexism of these posts - but the grammar criticisms are way off the mark.
Those rigid grammar rules beloved by the dictionary police only apply when you are writing in “Standard English” in a formal setting
So, grammar criticisms are relevant if we’re talking about a newspaper article, a resume or an essay for a college admissions application.
In the context of casual text message conversations, those “rules” are flat out irrelevant.
Also, there’s the race, culture and class issues here.
Twitter tends to skew heavily working class and African American in this country so a lot of tweets you read, especially the ones on trending topics, are written by low income Black young adults.
A lot of these folks primarily speak African American dialect, and that influences how they tweet.
Demanding that they write in “Standard English” (that is to say, English as spoken by upper class White people in the Northeastern US) is pretty offensive.
Believe it or not, most of these young men and women can code switch as needed.
However, in a casual forum like twitter, where nobody is getting graded, they can “speak easy and speak free” and write in their natural voice, in their home dialect.
Why exactly do you have a problem like that?
Don’t you speak and text casually with your friends, in the language and dialect that you use at home?
Why can’t they?
Or, is your home dialect the so called “Standard English” of the US upper classes, and you want to privilege the dialect you speak with your intimates over the lower status home dialect used by the average twitter user?
Kurt Vonnegut once said that millions of Americans have been taught that they have nothing important to say because they don’t speak like 19th century English noblemen.
To the dictionary police who have put forth their grammar criticisms here - think about that the next time you’re tempted to write a cheap shot “grammar” criticism of somebody who comes from a different background than you do.
Bottom line, you can’t fight male privilege with class, race and educational privilege.
This suggests that the act of reading observes a gradient of awareness. Familiar sentences printed in Helvetica and rendered on lucid e-ink screens are read quickly and effortlessly. Meanwhile, unusual sentences with complex clauses and smudged ink tend to require more conscious effort, which leads to more activation in the dorsal pathway. All the extra work – the slight cognitive frisson of having to decipher the words – wakes us up.
So here’s my wish for e-readers. I’d love them to include a feature that allows us to undo their ease, to make the act of reading just a little bit more difficult. Perhaps we need to alter the fonts, or reduce the contrast, or invert the monochrome color scheme. Our eyes will need to struggle, and we’ll certainly read slower, but that’s the point: Only then will we process the text a little less unconsciously, with less reliance on the ventral pathway. We won’t just scan the words – we will contemplate their meaning.
i used to work at a newspaper where i wrote criticism and it was unethical to write about my own friends. now it seems like mpls is becoming a culture where you aren’t allowed to criticize anything and you only write about your own friends.
i am not talking about lol-omg. they are not a newspaper. they’re a bunch of freelance writers with the upfront mission of writing a gossip blog. they spend a lot of their time creating community interaction without getting paid for it. same goes for all other informal blogs or creative writing ventures. literary journalism is a cool thing, and it often involves writing intimately about your life and the people in it.
nonetheless, we have to be allowed, as a city, to not like everything. we are entitled to have high standards.
So You Don't Want to Do The Number One Best Thing to Do Tonight?
Believe me, there are some good things to do tonight. I’m talking about fun shit. Serious fun. For example, back tattoos. They are going to be peeking out all over town, and you could go look at them. You could go out just to shake your head disapprovingly at them while drinking a two-for one magarita special with peach flavoring. Another thing going on tonight is a top secret concert. It’s so secret that I can’t even tell you about it, because I will get cast out of the hip circle with which I run.
But I hear that you, for some reason don’t want to do the number one best thing that there is to do tonight. Maybe you have indigestion. Maybe you spent all your money buying a device that will synch your satellite programming with your MacBook. Maybe your ex-boyfriend is afoot. Whatever your reasoning, here is a list of things that you could maybe do tonight, since you, for some reason, don’t want to do the number one best thing.
1. Scrape the freezerburn off some cookies and cream ice cream and eat it out of the carton. If you’re a girl, don’t do this. Especially if you just got dumped. Engaging in those kinds of cliches is why you got dumped, I bet.
2. Practice your stance on Asian beer. Stop at the nearest liquor store and buy Asahi, Tsing Tao Tiger, whatever Asian beer you can find. Go home and announce to your roommates that you are doing a taste test, so they will know why you aren’t out doing the number one best thing. Drink about five different beers and try on the outfit you wore to prom. Look at your first boyfriend’s Facebook profile pictures. Cry.
“They don’t know about my scene. If they did, it would be their scene, and FUCK THAT SHIT. I keep this business on the DL by staying at home with the front door and also the door to my room closed and locked, and since there are no outward signs that there is a scene going on here, we’re safe. When I open the scanner lid and use it as disco lighting, that might attract some attention, but other than that, we should be cool. This is my scene.”
“Leicester: From Amber Valley Farms, in Derbyshire, UK. Pronounced “Lester,” not “Lie-Chester,” like a creepy pedophile and not a dog command. Orange. I mean, like, superorange. Orange road cone orange. Dorito-ey fingers orange. The kind of orange where if someone was like, “Dude, name the most orange thing ever!” You’d have to answer “Leicester cheese!” or you’d be lying. Tastes like cheddar, probably. But then again, what doesn’t? Makes grilled cheese sandwiches you’re gonna want to take home to meet mom and dad, and then make out with in the basement.”
“5. The end of the world is a time for secrets to come out. Damn it if I don’t seize the opportunity to learn all the deep dirt on everyone. First, I would check Twitter incessantly for confessions. Then I would try to go to public confession-happy places, like churches and bars (if you haven’t inferred that I would be drinking a lot during this week, infer it now). I would carry around a notepad, like Harriet the Spy, nod and make lots of Observations about Humanity. Then quickly I would write a novel about the Real Truth of Being Alive, and all the Pain and Secrets and Unintentionally Funny things it involves. Finally, I would send it into space for aliens to appreciate and enjoy. Maybe they would think me a John Kennedy Toole of humanity.”
“They don’t know about my scene. If they did, it would be their scene, and FUCK THAT SHIT. I keep this business on the DL by staying at home with the front door and also the door to my room closed and locked, and since there are no outward signs that…
Blowjobs from currants—if they’re noticed at all—are often forgotten after they begin and until one orgasms, somewhat unexpectedly, hours later. This is because the currant, as one of the tiniest fruits, is able to sneak into men’s pants and do it for hours without anyone knowing anything, pulsing ethereally against the penis in a speed-shifting manner that’s incredible to witness. Subsequently, through billions of hours of practice, currants are perhaps the most skilled fruit at blowjobs, of which nature has balanced by making it one of the worst at math.
I put a link to this story about getting a blow job from fruit on an ex’s Facebook wall today. It reminded me of a funny comment he once (jokingly) made about cantaloupe. It has now, I see, been deleted.
I had not actually read the article, but now I see that it’s by none other than Tao Lin, subject of my ambivalent, prose-related fascination over my one-week Christmas break. I now know that he will indeed become a powerful man.
I’ve seen a lot of good reflections on 2010 and considered how to do my own. Then I was like, “Eh. I’m just going to put whatever I want, even if it’s “sincere,” “too ironic” or “accidentally braggy.”
The first thing that comes to mind about 2010 is that I got a new nephew, Levi, and he came the day before my birthday. I’ve loved seeing how he gets along with my niece, Kaylee, who keeps getting cuter and cuter.
Funny things Kaylee has said this year:
"There’s a lot of water in my head that I need to cry out."
"I don’t want to grow up to be a pizza man." (My mom convinced her that this guy dressed up as a pizza giving out coupons was half man/half pizza and she has feared him ever since. She often wails, "The pizza man! Those hands, those hands!")
"When will my brother turn into my sister?"
When Levi was born we asked, “What do you think about your new brother?” She responded, “I don’t think about it.”
She has never trusted the Roomba. Once when my sister was putting it on its base, she said warily, “Night night, room room.”
"Levi, you are a cutie. A GREAT cutie."
That picture is from last weekend, when she had to get stitches after a waterpark fall. She got comfort out of holding Levi.
I got a job that I love, doing work that is fun and often hilarious. From watching cats crawl around with their heads sticking out of Cheerios boxes on YouTube to writing manifestos about germs, I’m always having fun researching and writing about things I would never think to write myself. Plus, I get to keep learning in my job, which is the best opportunity possible. I’ve learned about design, coupons, perfume, “flugtags,” antimicrobials, and plenty of other topics.
But the best thing of all is the people. Everyone there is a kindred spirit, and we have a lot of fun, especially with Go Daddy’s URL suggestions. Downtownclownattack.com?
It was a very “prolific” year at Zeus Jones, in terms of work but even more so in terms of babies. We had 2 double baby showers, and they often got a bit wild. It has been fun to work outside of a college context and see how people my older sisters’ ages are raising their little kids to be as creative as they are.
It was my last year working at The Minnesota Daily. I’m still grateful for all I learned, and even more so for the awesome people I met there. Once I started working in entertainment journalism, I was magically transported to a world of other people that analyze the world in terms of things like “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
That’s a bunch of Daily A&E writers on halloween. Yeah, we’re perty drunk.
My last story ever for the Minnesota Daily was an interview with MPLS.TV. We had so much fun at the interview that we all became friends, and they asked me to be on staff. In unrelated news, I happened to come for a shoot where everyone was supposed to get naked. The photographer was a bit traumatized.
I’ve ended up doing a lot of different work with MPLS.TV, from graphic design to web wireframing to helping them launch a blog.
One of the best things about working with them was all the people I met.
Jay, Cloud, Ryan
Katie, Sarah and many more. p.s. hi dakota
I even liked one person so much I started dating them:
Yeah, when I met him, he was a little bit naked.
I also moved into a new house this year, and as you can see by this photoshopped picture by my roommate Sohail, I now live with some very artsy people. We have fun making GIFs of the cat and watching lots and lots of Buffy reruns.
Plus, compared the shitty pizza place I moved out of, this place is a palace. I love my treehouse-like bedroom.
I do still miss my old roomies and my old place, where my bedroom was practically its own wing of the house and there were bars on either side. We had some good times.
This is the best book I’ve read this year.
Series I’ve watched in their entirety on Netflix this year:
I watched “Lost” because it was suggested I didn’t like this series in high school because I wasn’t yet smart enough to “get it”. Nope, it’s pretty dumb.
I watched all of “Heroes.” Not sure why. I kind of liked how many foreign languages were on it. I also thought Hayden Panetierre was more interesting when her body was constantly falling apart and freakishly repairing itself. This show started to suck a lot when Dr. Suresh turned into a disgusting bug in a plot that copied “The Fly.”
Season one: 6/10
Season two: 2/10
At first I thought this show was a bad attempt at “Juno” humor, but I watched it all anyway.
Even though it was a weird metaphor about condoms or something, this show was pretty darn cute. Even though I usually don’t like shows that are above all things pretty darn cute, I liked this show. It had an “Amelie”-style whimsy.
"Skins" is the coolest show about teenagers I’ve ever seen. Leave it to the Brits to depict teenagers with an artful surrealism in settings that range from raves to mental hospitals. "Skins" has characters that seem real, growing up in dysfunctional households that would make the Camdens either barf or pray, really hard, or maybe both at the same time.
I wish MTV’s American version looked more different, a la the American “Office,” but it seems like a rip-off without the accent. I’ll still watch it anyway.
Too bad “Party Down” got canceled because that guy in the middle is going to be on “Parks and Rec” - another show I watched in its entirety on Netflix. This show had a hilarious cast and larger-than-life foibles. My favorite was Olive, played by Karen from “Will & Grace,” who when given several glasses of fancy wine, was excited because one tasted like “rocks” and the other like “rope.”
"Gossip Girl" got really stupid this year. Now I only watch it so I can read the hilarious Gawker recaps. Luckily "Tim & Eric" produced a good spinoff:
At first I thought The Awl was a shiftless, snobbier version of Gawker, but I was wrong indeed. Now I read it every day for their selection of quirky voices that take on everything from autism to the racism pointed out by a band called Das Racist.
Speaking of, Das Racist were my favorite newcomers to the music scene this year.
This movie was better than “Toy Story 3”
people still care about the Kardashians for some reason. Also, Kim eclipsed J.Lo as the worlds’ favorite big booty.
Dakota Fanning starred in a novel by Tao Lin, for free!
Kim Jong-Il looked at things. The world started project North Korea Voyeurism.
i bought myself an iPad
i smoked pot zero times!
bullies got blamed for gay suicides but for some reason legislators didn’t.
lino lakes, the suburb my sister settled in, put up both its middle fingers to Spanish-speaking immigrants
i lived in between two pizza places.
i learned how to observe moon cycles in astronomy 101 and then forgot how.
i also began the lifelong process of forgetting mandarin chinese.
My old editor, the very insightful Michael Garberich, was the one who pointed out the constant hedges and qualifiers in my own writing. He encouraged me to commit to what I was saying, which I’m still working on.
He provides some great insight in response to my post about the insecurity of American speech, especially in the younger generations.
At some recent point I staged an intervention with myself and began consciously stepping away from qualifying my written statements. Then I did the same with my speech, and suddenly I felt like I seemed cold, exacting, and unyielding to others. Did it offend others? Did it put them off? I have…