Sunday, July 1, 2007

Vowel Movement

Evolution is rocketing backwards. Like a backfiring bullet we’re hurtling past civilized language that millions of years later we'd rather prefer to communicate in hieroglyphics. The problem is I am not a professional NASA cryptologist nor I am well-versed in stenography. I am one of those wackos who think medical practitioners professionalize and standardize prescription-writing by intently observing how hens and roosters scratch the ground for earthworms.

So you can imagine my unceasing annoyance over textese—a disquieting phenomenon which might as well be the biblical sign of the mortality of Spelling Bee competitions. Or the decline and irreversible casualty of proper words as everyone embrace abbreviation, attenuation and acronyms with the same mania never seen outside American Idol.

I realize I’m beginning to sound oblique; like I’m a flaming uppity prude who clings to quaint laughable concepts like virginity and hot chicken soup. Tell me: what would I make out of the following SMS:

mt jm n rckwll 3pm. dnt b l8. tc!

Where have all the vowels gone? Is there a cartel enforcing strict prohibition of their use? Should I be a licensed Egyptologist to crack the earthshaking urgency of the message? Should we put out obituaries in honor and remembrance of them poor, hapless vowels?

However most annoying, the thing is, no matter how you want to resist its onslought you still strangely get it. Proof: try rdng ths f y dnt blv m.

Listen, I am one of those relics who send SMS in full, proper words. Whenever I do this people get shocked. It's like I sprouted a fourth nipple or have crawled out of a Franz Kafka novel overnight. If I insist on getting a full text back alarms people to no end. They are probably plotting a signature drive to have me committed.

I blame, of course, hip branding. I have written about the quirky habits of marketers of CK In2U. On closer inspection this trend has stealthily crept into mainstream consciousness long ago and we are too busy to give a bleep. Print Magazine (Or was it I.D?) identified Motorola as the most hip and blatant offender: PEBL, ROKR, SLVR, RAZR, KRZR. How did they come up with vowel-thrifty products? My guess is that the Blahnik-heeled, Gucci-clad, Hermes-tied sophisticates working for the brand place alphabet cards on the wall and begin open-firing at random and see what are the last four letters standing. Then develop a brand around those letters.

Motorola isn't alone in this. As cited in that magazine rant, (which I am re-appropriating here) how about the viral allure of FLICKR? Or Kyocera’s OYSTR? Should we up our hipness quotient and dine exclusively in New York’s trendy restaurants like STK, BRGR, and VYNL, or be seen downing cosmopolitans at BLVD?

Post 911 we see NYFD rose to heroic sheen, breaking the reign of NYPD Blue. We read smart and artsy magazines like 032C and CMYK and erupt into uncivilized rampage over sample sales of brands like DKNY and FCUK.

Hipness is king. And in a textese generation spelling is a handicap to the brisk exchange of instant messaging. Why bother with a vowel when you can bleep F*CK HM and appear interminably cool?

Maybe I’m getting decrepit to assert that humans should communicate in decipherable lingo; that Merriam Webster should not be relocated to the sarcophagus wing of the Met. As the publication would put it: GD HLP THS GNRTN!

Remember that relic of a show Wheel Of Fortune? Contestants who buy consonants only are considered smarter. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say this—considering the language mutation that is getting rampant in textese I want to be on that show and don't give a bleep if I'm perceived as stupid: I’d like to buy a fucking vowel!

Buy? Who am I kidding?! I’d want to hoard them in the same perverted stampede witnessed on obsessive freaks during the first day the limited iPhone went on sale.

And sheepishly lose in a raucous round of amused roars of laughter.

6 comments:

ian said...

hahahaha i'm so tempted to re-type here all the sms you've sent sans vowels, proof that you... you... you HAVE been infected!

aaaaaaaack

away with you, he-who-thinks-bawal-ang-vowels hehe

loudcloud said...

attention blogging public : ian's claim is a vindictive attempt at retaliation because i have suggested that he writes prescriptions by observing chickens scratching the ground! haha. ignore him. unless you need your prozac re-filled.

joy-joy said...

tnx ld cld. lol :D

loudcloud said...

joy-joy! hahaha you made a slip: you included an "o" :P

Courtney said...

lol, absoltly luv this! ur cmpltly rite! im tchncly prt of this 'txt mania' gnr8tn n qt frnkly i h8 it when ppl txt in 'textese'! it is ez 2 read, ya, but y bthr? we hav a prfctly g8 wrttn language, well, knd of, the slnt lttrs r a bit annong.. but neway, i dnt c the pnt, i txt in full englsh, with a few xcptions, like, if im in the mddl of doing smthng ill txt in shrthnd.. neway, im blbbrng. go ldcld!

Translation:
Hahaha, I absolutely love this! You're completely right! I am technically a part of this 'text mania' generation and quite frankly I hate it when people text in 'textese'! It is easy to read, yes, but why bother? We have a perfectly good written language, well, kind of, the silent letters are a bit annoying.. But anyway, I don't see the point, I text in full english, with a few exceptions, like, if I am in the middle of doing something I will text in shorthand.. Anyway, I'm blabbering. Go Loud Cloud!

loudcloud said...

hahahaha! you're a rare breed then, Courtney! we should preserve you in the literacy conservation/protection program! thanks for leaving a comment! you made my day :-)