Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grammar Nerd Gatekeepers

AN EXAMPLE of the kind of young journalist being recruited as gatekeeper of the status quo literary world is self-described "grammar nerd" Elizabeth Fox, a book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In a 8/11 article in the newspaper, Fox snippily complains about "abuse of the English language" caused by writers who dare show linguistic creativity on the Internet.

Bizarrely enough, she then uses William Shakespeare, of all people, as an example of proper English.

Elizabeth Fox is an example of the bourgeois prism I've discussed. She views the past through her own situation and her own anal standards, which are the System's standards.

In reality, Shakespeare was the antithesis of a grammar nerd. He lived during the changeover in England from oral to written culture. Today he'd be called semi-literate. An actor, Will's words were created to be spoken aloud. Written texts were devised solely as a tool for the players; their saving an afterthought.

Extant documents, those which did survive the years, show an individual unconcerned with proper spelling or proper grammar. He made up scores of words found in no dictionary because there were no dictionaries. His audience grasped their meaning because of their relation to other words, and their context and placement in sentences. The man is notorious today among befuddled historians for the creative ways "Shakspere" spelled even his own name.

What does this mean?

It means that maybe-- just possibly-- the path toward greatness in literature lies in NOT being ruthlessly tied down, restricted amd constricted, bound with chains, gagged and put into a language prison cell box, as advocated in this overly-regulated age by utterly brainwashed System advocates like Ms. Fox.

Maybe it's better instead to have the freedom to be creative in all things literary. To use wordplay at readings, or use creative spelling to give new meaning to old words, as do ULAers Frank Walsh and Bill Blackolive. Maybe it's better to focus first on truth and emotion, passion and explosiveness, while letting the constipated rules fall to the background, as does James Nowlan, a ULA novelist.

We're at our own historical dividing line: Whether literature is going to be stuck, unmoving, in the drying cement of status quo thought-- or instead, burst forth with new freedom and energy, with the kind of excitement that Marlowe and Shakespeare once generated, and if done right, today, can attract to the poetry of language hordes of new fans.


King Wenclas said...

I invited Ms. Fox to post a response here. Of course, she failed to.
It's an example of the insane snobbery such people hold toward outsiders, but also a true fear of having to defend their ideas.
Such will be the case as the mediocrity of status quo culture continues.
Who's being recruited? Why are they recruited?
Most of all, that the person be artistically conservative-- that he or she write what everyone else writes, with no surprises. Fox, like others of her kind, is completely predictable.
One can safely say that she's never in her life encountered a writer who hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid of conformity. Like other status quo types, she writes for some unseen gatekeeper, as if she's still writing for her professors. This presence is always in the back of her mind; accountability to propriety, to unwritten "standards" which do nothing but hold the art back.
What they hold back, is not the art, the culture alone, but also themselves.
They take no chances-- one isn't allowed to in a newspaper-- and so their writing never breaks out of its stale trap.

FDW said...

Any body worth their muster knows that is the culture underground writers poets and "makers" 'nows that ANGLISH is not the language(s) of America, American is. And as America is not just whistling dixie, US of A, but also and perhaps lately even more so Central and South America, MEXICO, the Carribean, the attending islands, promotories, isthmuses, capes, etc. even Canada! The indigenious people North South and in between especially. Hence American is the most humanly possible scion of English, servicable, adaptive and adept to come down the PIKE since Elizabethan English. Where the proscibers and mediating quack savants of the bourzghee last gasp and hollow- points like the whole of the Inquirer's ill-literate staff gaffs and gags order "plop-plop, fizz-fizz" their calls to regressive measures ("according to the metronome" where litter-chure's concerned, no doubt) such as persuasive legalistic RHETORIC, dialectical presciptivisms, and dead serious syllogism, begging the question as a way of one sided eleitist proscriptioning and hanging on to the crumbling ladder wrungs of monopolistic capital Spectacle, WE that is US amurikan free speakers and thinkers offer that is share a parlance, a playing inventive playfulness of actual communication whose main gest happens to be a opening of the mind at most and a seduction at least between US and FOLK that are the people for one thing who are besides US, US for another!