Body English and Word Porn

The English language is deteriorating rapidly. Just this week I’ve had to stomach (of course, that’s a verb) such wannabe-verbs as ‘magic’ and ‘Gandalf’, forcing me to spend more time on Google than it’s worth, frankly. I mean: who do these Johnny-come-lately scribes think they are, anyway? Isn’t the object of writing, ultimately, uh—communication? And no, the author is not the subject; he’s the worker bee.

Do I have to read Tolkien to be able to communicate? ‘Game of Thrones’? What if I don’t like such fairy tales? ‘To Google’ is different. That comes direct from the Latin: googleare, as in Caesar’s ‘Vini googli vici’ or Descartes’ famous dictum, “Googlio ergo sum.”

The point is: You can’t just make sh*t up. I mean you can, but you should realize you’re being an arrogant prick, or at best a poet, same thing, and you shouldn’t even pretend that this crap is journalism. The government and broadcast media are just as bad, of course, so that’s probably where the young ‘uns (spelled ‘Jong-un’) get their cues. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘boots on the ground’ in the last year? What about ‘soldiers in combat’? It’s sad.

Then there’s ‘growing the economy’? FYI, mofo, the economy grows, intransitive, if you’re lucky. You don’t grow an economy. It’s not potatoes, unless you’re in Idaho. Ordinary people are worse, of course. What about, “he’s a douche”? Would an EFL student get it? If not, then you’re being irresponsible, or maybe you’re ‘irresponsibling’, heh heh.

Or maybe I’m being Quixotic, tilting at windmills and all that rap. Notice I didn’t say ‘quixoting’. That is, making a noun into an adjective is one thing; making a noun into a verb is another, especially if it’s a proper noun. I can think of very few legitimate ones (www.urbandictionary.com/ doesn’t count) through the course of history: google, skype, boycott, um um, bogart (as in ‘that joint’), i.e. not many.

Common nouns have many more, of course—gas, fax, e-mail, etc—and many many words exist as both verbs and nouns without clear distinction as to which came first—call, mail, heat, etc. Copywriters have a word for it—verbing. Avoid it. It ain’t ‘urban’; It’s pure country b*llsh*t. ‘At the end of the day’, as they say, competence is all that matters. Ha!

But the most egregious abuse of language for me recently was nothing nearly so technical. I’m sure you’ve heard the word ‘porn’ used freely in the last few years to denote some not-so-guilty pleasure, as in ‘food porn’ and rapidly expanding its usage into such fields as ‘map porn’ (is that mine?) and ‘word porn’ (ditto?), but ‘ruin porn’, i.e. pictures of historical and architectural ruins? Gimme a break. No way. I swear I lost my erection after the second pyramid. Now say it over and over to yourself: subject-predicate-object, subject-predicate-object, ad infinitum…

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