Goodbye English: Hello New Speak
How to Become a Published Writer
I proudly present my latest creative writing article, or “hub”, entitled “I write, therefore I am a writer”, which I respectfully request be entered in the fifty-five word creative writing competition. Here it is, exactly fifty-five words:
“Wot mee du lyke iz rytin cos dats wot mee duz wen mee aynt got nottin els to do. So I iz a ryter den, innit? Me liykes to rite abowt wot mee duz an sumtymes wot mee duz not do, its orl in de mynd anee way, innit? Lyke, ya no wot I meen? “
Do you like it? Do you think I’ll win first prize; make lots of money? You don’t? Why? Is there something wrong with it? Well it doesn’t really matter anyway. I am still a writer, because I mean, I wrote that didn’t I?
In fact, having posted this little beauty on Hubpages or one of the legions of competitor web sites, I could, if I really wanted to stretch the boundaries of credibility, even call myself a published writer.
You Can Make Money Writing Online
I could place links all over the internet, in my emails signatures, on Twitter, Digg, Facebook et al. I could amass hundreds of fans and twitter followers simply by becoming their fans or follower. In no time at all, my heroic fifty-five word piece could rocket through the ratings, even achieving the hallowed status of a one hundred score on Hubpages, and my fifty-five word masterpiece would be prominently displayed on web pages all over the Internet, as a shining example of my literary prowess, and with some clever marketing, even make money.
But what of the quality? Dare I mention the dreaded “Q” word here?
If the grammar is no better than that of a seven year old child; if my prose is rife with spelling mistakes; if my range of vocabulary never exceeds two hundred words, does it matter? And if my overall command of the English language is no better than a drunken Irishman at a St Patrick’s Day celebration, then that’s fine too (I’m half Irish by the way). It’s a free world, and especially a free Internet.
Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width
Write whatever you like, it’s all OK. Anything goes. After all, it’s not important what you write. What matters is how much you write. Never mind the quality, feel the width. Insert some Google Adsense, Amazon or eBay advertising and you will probably make money too!.
To be able to write one hundred articles or hubs in thirty days, to be a feted member of the mutual admiration society and have trillions of fans and followers is what it’s all about. Write more and more hubs so that the owners of Hubpages can triumphantly announce that there are now 400’000, 500’000, or a million hubs in their database. Am I supposed to be impressed?
Quality of Content Does Matter
Ahem. Dare I mention the “Q” word again?
With complete disregard for quality of content, I could program my computer to write one hundred hubs in a day. Give it a subject, a good dictionary and thesaurus, a spelling and grammar checker, and set it to work; one hundred hubs, no problem. Make it two hundred if you like. No worries. Hey, my computer has just become a writer too!
Tomorrow, I will put a stethoscope around my neck, put on a white coat, perform a couple of diagnoses on unsuspecting passers-by, and hey presto, I will then be a doctor.
If I should happen to strike a few random notes on a piano, bearing a passing resemblance to perhaps “three blind mice” then I can call myself a musician.
If I can design a house using a computer program, then I am an architect, even if the house, were it ever to be constructed, were to fall down.
Incontestably, I am an artist if I can dip a paint brush in some paint and daub it onto a canvas.
If I open my mouth and some warbled sounds emerge, then that clearly makes me a singer.
Plainly, there is no limit to the number of professions to which I can lay claim, if I want to.
But here comes the rub. You are not a writer simply because you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and produce some sentences, anymore than you are an artist because you can maneuver a paint brush. So where do we place the bar? At what point do we cross over from someone who at best, has a rudimentary grasp of the language, but knows his alphabet and can string a few basic words together, and someone who is a writer?
Well, a third party being willing to pay you (no, not you pay him) to publish your work would be a start.
The ability to produce some prose that could pass muster in a grammar and spell checking program would be encouraging too; as would the use of nouns as nouns, adjectives as adjectives, and sentences which actually contain verbs and that those verbs are conjugated in the correct tense.
What disturbs me most, and indeed, what prompts me to write this article is that sadly, this is increasingly not the case. None of this seems to matter anymore; and no-one seems to care.
One Internet “author” recently said that anyone who bothers to take an interest in sentences being correctly constructed and bad grammar and spelling mistakes being corrected was “being picky”. I suppose Dickens and Hemmingway were quite “picky” then?
George Orwell might have been right after all. Are we in the process of reducing the English language to a jumble of misspelled words, sentences without verbs, slang expressions and abbreviations? Is this the “new speak” that he spoke of in his novel “1984”?
Are we really witnessing the destruction of the English Language, and is the Internet and the plethora of “anything goes” literary web sites such as Hubpages serving to accelerate this demise?
Is the snowball representing the ruination of the English language already rolling down the hill and, like global warming, is it to late to stop it?
I know that I’m a grumpy old man, but surely I’m not the only one who has noticed, and to whom this matters? If I am, then we can all look forward to many more prime examples of “new speak” from “writers” of the new “anything goes” literary fraternity.
Because as they say, (and this contains exactly twenty five words, in readiness for the forthcoming twenty five word essay competition)
“Spelin en gramer duznt matte nomor. Itz not wot yu sez orrite, itz ow much yuk an saye it fur ow long meny werds, innit”?
Copyright © 2009-2013. All rights reserved.
© 2009 sannyasinman
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