Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Déclassé of Internet Diglossia

An open letter to nobody in particular:

As a self-professed elitist snob, there is little more odious to me than the propagation of completely manufactured slang or jargon, where some idiot simply decides one day that everyone on the internet is required to start using or acknowledging some inane term, acronym, or trope so they can all feel special, even if they have no idea what the term actually means.

"I said LOLerskates online, and my friend totally said ROFLcopter back, and I sent her a LOLcat photo that says I CAN HAS EPIC FAIL?...and I'm adorable...don't you like me? Am I special now? Am I a part of something greater than myself?"

Indeed you are, my fictitious little one-dimensional example: you are a part of the great and growing lingual mediocrity that comes with instant communication, unbridled conformity, and the pathological craving of acceptance. Congratulations; just like the 14 year old virus incubating script kiddies who once insisted that all real hackers were obsessed with obfuscating their typed communications in formulaic, stylized, and completely transparent ciphers, you too are a footnote in the decline of reasonable discourse via an electronic medium. Real people dont 5p34k 733+ all of the goddamned time, nor do they communicate solely in acronyms. Sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and (dare I say) letter case plays a vital role even in this strange world of typing on little screens.

I would just like to go on record as saying, if you think you know a hip new piece of internet slang, Google that shit. Search for "intext:[dumbass phrase]" to return all pages where the term is used, and see how other people use it. If you get several pages of results, it probably isn't all that new; do the entire internet a favor and use it sparingly and within the normative context.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Uxorem Habeo

On Friday, June 20, Two Thousand and Eight I came to a startling conclusion as soon as the ceremony closed: I have a wife. It is without a doubt the most amazing realization of my life thus far, more profound even than the first moment I realized the concept of mortality. We've spent the last three days breaking in the terms "husband" and "wife", as if the act of merely repeating them was in some way an echo of the original act of marrying, and in some ways I'm not so sure it isn't just that.

I told my wife when we first realized that we were in love that I firmly believed in the sincere, constant recitation of the phrase "I love you", not because of any need for validation or any uncertainty in the truth of those words, but because that truth deserves exultation. I know couples who simply stopped saying it altogether at some point, and I know people who say it almost dismissively...a reflexive sort of utterance that comes from obligation rather than passion. I know people who keep it completely private and only say it to one another when no one else is around. My wife and I treat those words as though we just discovered them, and are still fascinated.

It makes a difference; after years of living together, having the normal variety of disagreements, arguments, and frustrations that are included in any couple's relationship, people who didn't know better still mistook us for a 'new' couple pretty much the whole time, and were positively sickened when we told them how long we'd been together and they realized that this stage of looking deep into one another's eyes, holding hands at the table, and smiling like fools randomly throughout the day wasn't ever going to end for us.

So right now I'm still rolling that new phrase around. That, and sometimes we look at each other and chant sextasyllabically "ho-ly shit, man and wife" over and over again in unison like we're in the stands at a sporting event. =)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On Nostaliga

This weekend I found myself in a bar bidding farewell to one of my fiance's co-workers who is bound for Brazil to teach English as a second language. As we approached the front door I heard the unmistakable sound of disco blaring out through the throng of fiftyish barflies who, in this modern era, had been relegated to smoking outside. I resigned myself to enduring Andy Gibb for a few hours, overpaying for scotch, and being grateful that I was overtly attached to my date, as signified by the engagement ring and her habit of clutching my hand in fear when confronted by aging drunkards. In the end it wasn't that bad at all; the booze was certainly overpriced, but the bartender wasn't particularly mindful of his portion control so it all evened out in the end, and our hostess and her friends were charming and gracious the whole night through. Being a decade older than my fiance, I was a bit closer to the rest of the crowd in age anyway, and having been introduced to music at a young age I even had my own moments of nostalgia now and again as I remembered where I was when I first heard a particular Donna Summers song. Everyone else at the table was out smoking pot in a white polyester suit and I was at home experimenting with something called 'Lincoln Logs' on an avocado-green berber carpet, but at least I remembered it.

As the evening progressed, I realized that even in a bar dedicated to the revival of thirty-year-old dance music the management had devoted yet another entirely seperate room to what the normative patrons regarded as the 'older crowd' (i.e., the ones on oxygen). Dubbed the Elvis Room, it dialed the scene back a further ten to twenty years. In conversing with some of our fellow revelers I learned that it had, until fairly recently, been called the Sinatra Room. I was just about to ask why the shift in theme had occured, when it suddently hit me: mortality. The people who came for Sinatra were, as time progressed, thinning out due to age and eventually death. Every ten years that room was going to be renamed after someone whose heyday was a decade prior to the main room's standard fare as old patrons died and new patrons turned forty.

It was a grim revelation that I thought best to keep private while in the company of people who were themselves inexorably sliding back toward whatever the Elvis Room would be renamed in the years to come, but that moment of potential poigniance was completely shattered by the absurdity of continuing that logic into the next thirty years. Am I going to be in that same fucking bar someday listening to Bauhaus in the Huey Lewis Lounge, while the younger crowd is requesting old Marilyn Manson numbers in the main room?

And in that scenario, how much more obscenely expensive will a twelve-year-old scotch become?