Archive | Language Matters

Use Your Words

Since November 9, I’ve been thinking nonstop about why I so hotly dislike GIFs, emojis–all the visual options that now exist in lieu of words. Essentially, all these visual codes train us to stop articulating ourselves–to rely on limited pre/post-literate symbols for self-expression rather than this handy, deeply nuanced system of symbols we’ve already developed called LANGUAGE. This mutation of expression is dangerous. Really dangerous. For the less we use our power of articulation, the less available it is to us. All muscles atrophy when not regularly deployed, and we are in a national crisis in which all our critical facilities are vital in order to resist fascism; we must be able to describe the beast if we are to defeat it.

To be clear, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the ease of emojis. I even use them sometimes, but I find that curtailing my impulse to do so forces me to be more deliberate about engagement. I tell myself: If you don’t have something real to say, don’t say anything.  Continue Reading →


felinuiI woke four hours later than I normally do, and strains of the Beatles song “Yesterday” were already ringing in my earsI’ve been trying to write for five hours and thus far my greatest achievement has been to kill a fly with my bare hands. Even permakitten Grace has given up supporting my desultory stabs at productivity–felinnui is real, man–and the four shots of espresso I’ve swilled have failed to lift the fog of my alleged brain. New moon and solar eclipse be damned. Nothing transcends the gloom of the last unofficial week of summer.

Quibble This!

Some thoughts from a former copy editor and chronic critic: 1. I really despise “basic” as an insult. It’s classist, middle-school, mean grrrl mishegos masquerading as punk rock. 2. “Because [insert noun/adjective]” not only sounds ignorant but also rapidly has become hackneyed. Viva the verb! 3. Ditto for sentences.with.periods.after.every.word! 4. I adore exclamation points. They’re my tonal compensation for a blanket rejection of emoticarnage. 5. If you don’t have time to proofread that email/text/update you’re sending, you shouldn’t send it at all. 6. The rhetorical question is not as cute as you think it is. Try a colon instead of a question mark. Because really? The alternative is grating. 7. Adding a “y” to a noun doth not an adjective make. I particularly take umbrage with “rapey.” Sexual felonies are just not cute. 8. It’s not “side eye,” kids. It’s “a sidelong glance.” 9. I’ve started to refer to male interrupters/conversation-hogs as “verbal manspreaders.” Spread that.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy