May 05, 2008

Bits of Hatred: Instalment #1

(Warning: Long post.)

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I've figured out that the only way to blow off steam is to vent it publicly. The blog is a good place, because it is public but no one gets harmed in the process. Hoping that people at whom the rant is directed are reading it, would be asking for too much. Nevertheless, this is the first in the line of many, many spewings (?) of hatred against sections of humanity. Yes, I officially declare that I will no longer be nice and kind to people (if I ever was). Enough is enough.

Aaj ka vishay hai... The Various Abuses of English and Writing

Let's start with the basics:

Your-You're-Their-They're-There
I don't know what it is about reading a mix-up of "your" and "you're" that brings out the worst within me. Or, for that matter, "their", "they're" and "there." Yes, I know, these things sound similar. But we were taught English for a reason. And there's a spell-check on MS Word for a reason.

Other gripes:

"Rawk" and "kewl" instead of rock and cool. Dude, you're not even reducing the number of letters you're typing.

"That was so fun!!" - It's either "so much fun" or "such fun". Not "so fun."

"That's how she looked like" - It's "what she looked like" or "how she looked."

"Like.." "As in.." - Okay, I do this too, but not 7 times in a 10-word sentence.

[Will add more if and when I remember.]

And while we're doing the intellectual snobbery thing, we might as well go the whole hog. Most of my grudges are against people my age, because they're the ones I'm most in contact with. I have this feeling that the older generations have better grammar and sense of syntax, at least. But then, who knows?

Anyhow, I also despise, from the bottom of my heart:

- Too many dots. They're meant to be used in ones, or threes. And not in groups of threes.
To make it clearer to the dummy:
. and ... are fine. However, .., ........ or any variants thereof are not.

- Too many exclamations. Do you want to look like you're high on glucose / alcohol / anti-depressants?

- Long sentences. Do you remember how you started, ass? [Okay, I write humongous sentences at times too. But I'm working on it. Promise.]

- People who, in the "Favorite books" section of their networking profiles, list all the books they've read. Please note - it says "favorite". Hence it implies, you pick the ones you liked best. If you liked "One Night at the Call Centre" and "Dan Brown" best, you deserve to die. If your favorite book is "Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon," you deserve to be murdered.

- In that same "Favorite books" section, people who list good books (not pulp fiction) and write it in lowercase and/or misspell it. Really, if you're reading good stuff, accord it the respect it deserves.

- Generally, people who pretend to read. No one said you had to. No one minds if you don't. Just. Please. Don't. Pretend. That. You. Do.

- People who type in lowercase all the time, or uppercase all the time. Former, you look illiterate. Latter, you make me feel tired of just reading, somehow. I feel like someone's yelling at a wall in writing, somehow. [Note: This applies to proper written communication, not IM/SMS, where I'm liberal even with wazzaaaa-ssup-dnt-cdnt-gr8-b4 kind of BS.]

- People who write poetry. Don't get me wrong. But when you write poetry that gets to its middle after just around 2 pages - you PISS ME OFF. You're not bloody Homer. (Of Iliad fame, not Simpson.)

- People who write stuff and want me to read it. I'm not talking about the odd blog, or article, or poetry. I'm talking about the people who hand me a bloody file of 40 pieces of prose/poetry they expect me to read.

I still remember the time when a trio from my school submitted a whole bloody file of romantic poetry for the school magazine and expected me to read each one in it. Seriously, are you bloody mad? Reading a page of something that I've myself written is usually enough to make me want to kill people. You expect me to read 50 pages of crap poetry you wrote? Filled with goddam cliches about eyes and mirrors?

Also, people who breathe down my neck while I read what you've written. Or worse still, demand that I read it in front of you. Some actually have the nerve to ask me to read stuff standing in front of them.

Let me make my reasons for reading alone clear: I can't read with people and noise around me; I judge better when I'm alone; If you've written badly, it's quite likely that my disgust will be apparent, and you won't like that; I don't like being forced, so sod off.

- Amateur writers of horror / mystery. Sorry, most of you just can't do it. Either you're rolling in vampires and ghouls, or concocting clues that are forcefully fitted together at the end to pin the blame on the guy you thought would be the most unexpected killer.

- Amateur romance-writers. Please. Please. Please. Either you're in love and on top of the world, or out of it and at the bottom. Case 1: you want the world to know the intimate details of how wonderful your romance is. Case 2: you want the world to know what a *&#@^!@ your object-of-affection-until-recently is. Either way, there isn't a single original thought coming out of your mind, usually, so will you please shut the hell up?

And finally, the type I hate the most:

The MS-Word-Thesaurus people.

These are the guys who write a sentence in simple (correct) English. Then they select each word, press Shift+F7 and find its synonyms. They select the synonym that sounds heaviest, and replace the original (simple and correct) word.

In the process, the meaning is often lost. The emotion is often lost. The context is beautifully screwed around with.

These are also the people who belong to the school of thought that believes that the merit of a piece of prose is measured by the number of words with 8 letters or more it has. And that a "vocab" is there for you to show off. And that the fewer the people who understand it, the cooler the writer is.

Here's a newsflash, dodos: (And I take the liberty of speaking for all of humanity now)
If I don't understand it, I stop reading it. If a word doesn't fit the context, you look like an idiot, no matter how long the word is. And the longer your sentence gets (with added words, adverbs, adjectives, and syllables), the lesser real emotion it conveys.

Here's some free advice also: Go read. Please. You'll see why famous authors (the same ones who wrote your "favorite books") are famous.

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I also fully realise that when I'm old and stricken with bad memory, I will commit the same errors. I will, too, someday, write terrible English and use grammar that makes Laloo look like Wodehouse; but until then, as we say in India, we are like this only.


PS - The labels "Rant" and "Bits of Hatred" are different from each other in this manner: Rants cover those things that I hate at a point in time, or that piss me off temporarily. Bits of Hatred are permanent.

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67 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this post, Mudra! Absolutely loved it. Thank you for making me laugh a lot abhi. :D

Chandni

PS: Can I share this post/the URL with a few friends?

Mudra said...

@Chandni: Thank you! And w.r.t sharing the URL... neki aur poonchh poonchh? ;)

Chandni said...

:D

Me

Kartick Sitaraman said...

Dear Mudra,

I was one of the few that Chandni was kind enough to share your post with - and Boy am I glad she did!

If it wasn't for the people seated around me at work, I'd have been laughing out loud.

Traces of British English (most glaringly: bloody and sod off) were rather relieving.

My pleasure this.

Thanks

sheece said...

and yet, the english that we use today is very different from what it once was. it will only get worse.

Ramya said...

And I was another of those who got this link through Chandni...Thanks to you both! You, for writing this, and her for bringing it to us. Absol-bloody-utely brilliant!!!! Keep writing. And oh, could I add your link to my blog page? There are several people I'd like to share your post with....Could I?

Asterix said...

I did not get the link from Chandni, instead I read the post via your feeds ;-)

Mazaa aa gaya to say the least! By the way I hope you won't impale me for mixing Hindi and English words.

And not to nitpick, but you used an ellipsis (aka three dots) in one of your replies ;-)

Chandni said...

Arre wah! So many familiar names here! :D

aditi said...

haha...soo what i needed..i told you why..i love you..laughed a lot!
'Yes, I officially declare that I will no longer be nice and kind to people (if I ever was). Enough is enough.' - you know what i'm gonna say..high five!!
and the you're-your thing..high five again!!
'Amateur romance-writers....
so will you please shut the hell up?' - well said!
and dude, you making grammatical errors? seriously, not happening.
Lmao mudra..keep them coming..i need them!

Kanika said...

:D
I can feel the khunnas flowing out of my screen! ('!!!!!!!!' i mean..hehe)
This using a thesaurus for everything reminds me of the time when Jeoy Tribiani (from friends) who signs off a letter as "Baby Kangaroo Tribiani".
Hehe... Great fun reading!:D

Mudra said...

@chandni: Thanks for the free publicity. :)

@kartick: Thanks a lot!

@sheece: I hope not, but yeah, looks like we're getting worse and worse.

@ramya: Thanks! And yeah, sure... go ahead and link me.

@guptaji: But I never said I was against ellipsis (aka three dots)! Or am I missing something here? :P

@aditi: Yeahhh! Let's be horrible bitches and take over the world!

@kanika: Khunnas is right. I've been denied my right to good grammar for too long.

Moares said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moares said...

Hey Mudra,

The elusive Art of Consistency is what you've Mastered. Never a chink in the armour.
A lot of us novices could do with your trade secrets, madam!

Asterix said...

Hmmm, my bad!

bhirusen said...

mudra your post takes me back to once upon a time when i was 19. onnly i never rote like u did.

Vidooshak said...

i must admit i did not read all the way to the end. you had me in splits by the time you clarified Homer's roots as Illiad and not Simpson. Truly, I needed that clarification!!

this post was forwarded to me. you are getting famous. and i have tears rolling down my cheek.

just after i read your post, a colleague intimated me by email that he had "runned the tool".

Good for him!

Menaka said...

Came here via India Uncut, lovely post, couldn't agree more. Look forward to more rants...

Hari said...

The bits of hatred betray the age, it seems.. :) What will happen soon enough is not tolerance, but a silent scoff and nonchalance.. But of course, not before permanent bits of hatred become sporadic rants..

Shankar Ganesh said...

Hey,

I enjoyed reading the article. I just landed here from Amit Varma's blog.

Under "Amateur Romance Writers" you've used semicolons near Case 1 and Case 2.

Shouldn't those be colons?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Firefoxcub said...

Bad English sucks. I hate the SMS dialect in online text (kewl, rawk, dis, dat, d...) Spell check, btw, will not detect incorrect usage of correctly spelled words (they, they're, their, to, too etc)

On the writers note though... you're a bit harsh there, mate. People need to go through the cliches and bad storylines before they come to understand it and maybe write better. And here's where I agree with you: they should go read. Every aspiring writer should.

@Shankar: You're right, they should be colons.
Good post though and I chanced on it via India Uncut.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. But WTF is wrong with those asking for permission to pass the URL?

Anonymous said...

More than the posts I think the comments were worth noticing. The post was all cliches except that one MS Word thing. And still you see so many slobbering over it. WTF man? Is it because of the P**** factor. I regret reading this post.

Damn you India Uncut (Indian Cunt). Your content is deteriorating day by day

kalind said...

While I empathise with you, I feel that despite the best efforts of people like you, language is bound to change/evolve. May I refer you to an interesting article by Mr. Anu Garg on a similar topic? The URL is Article by Mr. Anu Garg

See if you like it.

Regards,

Kalind

Asterix said...

Congratulations 'child' ;-)

abhishek said...

Good stuff. Stop. Keep writing. Stop. I must cease. Stop.

How's that for a brief compliment? But seriously, reading your post reminded me of sitting in my high school English teacher's class and going over the basics of writing. It's a good prescription for every aspiring writer.

One in a Billion said...

And the longer your sentence gets (with added words, adverbs, adjectives, and syllables), the lesser real emotion it conveys.

You know, one often feels like ranting about folks who use 'lesser' when they mean 'less' ...

DhiOnlyOne said...

Decent rant, to say the least. These details rattle me as well; especially the "Favourite books/movies/music" part. It is painful to see beautiful titles being written down in lower case, and along with lesser deserved books.
Anyway, the point remains that at the end of the day language should serve the purpose of communication. And as long as your recipient is able to understand what you are saying, with the exact undertone/overtone and emotions conveyed, I suppose the job is done irrespective of the language format. The language purists are probably cringing the same way as how we cricket fans are glaring in horror at the whole IPL stuff. :-)

Curd Rice Aurora said...

@anon

if you have a problem with varma, shoot him a mail.

@mudra

decent rant.

MinCat said...

what about loose/lose! that REALLY drives me nuts. :D what to do, we have Inner Sticklers. I also twitch at abused apostrophes.

Purni Siddarth said...

Hi Mudra. I followed the link to your post from India Uncut. Brilliant stuff. It irks me when people cannot write a decent simple English sentence. Well done. Keep writing. Would you mind if I passed on this blog post to my friends?

Anonymous said...

That was awesome, nothing but the truth.

Not being all pedantic, but this huge wave of broken english has swept across our nation like fire.

Look at all those crap scraps on orkut, for instance. An epitome of human literary excellence, that is.
I couldn't stress more on how annoying it is and I am deeply saddened by the reality.

Thank you for writing this, at least someone thinks parallel.

Mackenzie said...

I find it sad that your grasp of the English language surpasses that of my peers, although I'm from a country where English is the native language.

By the way, four periods is acceptable. If, when quoting, a part of the text goes missing, an ellipses is called for. If the end of a sentence occurs there as well, the period for the end of the sentence is still required.

Pratz said...

Long post indeed but a lovely one. Waiting for the next instalment.

neha vish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neha vish said...

You really feel for the language don't you? :)

I tend to get more annoyed with laziness than ignorance. I can make my peace with badly worded sentences and grammatical errors. But what really gets me in a rage is laziness, especially in semi-official documents. Written by people with an obvious command over the language, but mauled by sheer lethargy.

PS - Would you believe it? I made an error in my previous comment that would have you come at me with a knife in each hand. I run away in peace.

Nitish said...

Mud!! I have tears in my eyes..Tears of pride..I remember the day when you were just an infant in the blog duniya..aur aaj..aaj dekh tu kahan hai child..
after all the comments and referrals does it matter now if i say : good post mudra..
anyways..accha hai..even i cannot stand the sight of " muddddddddddddddduuuuuuuuuuuu wazzzzzaaaa..just lurvvvvvvvvvvvve ur post..u rawkkk muddu..btw we HAVE TO meet..call soon..mwahhhhhhhhhhhh"
(Any resemblance to person living or dead in the above conversation snippet is totally intentional)
You spoke my mind in this one Mudra..Proud of you..

P.S I'm sorry for the ".."..just too lazy to punch in the third one..

cya

Shashvat said...

Nice commentary but really, who has time to get all worked up? Anger doesn't cure ignorance. Simply avoid the native English speakers who should know better and sympathize with the non-native speakers who don't.

Anonymous said...

I believe that every right-thinking individual needs to join the Holy Crusade against "would" and "the same". Words can, unfortunately, describe the unspeakable horror.

That said, ellipsis...Crucify the monsters.

bobo said...

Hey, I was forwarded this link, and, if I may be so bold..

(forgive me if it's repetitive. I haven't gone through the preceding comments)

While I do agree with you vis-a-vis syntax and spelling (though I often, to my everlasting detriment, appear illiterate by typing only in lowercase), aren't you being a bit harsh about people listing authors like Brown/Christie as their favourite authors?

Sure, I'm not saying that I don't judge them, but that's what those columns are there for. Intellectual honesty is better than being a poseur. Personally, I'd be more appreciative of someone who lists Sidney Sheldon than of someone who lists authors whom Harold Bloom thinks are the cat's whiskers.

And, simply acknowledging your intellectual snobbery doesn't absolve you of it. It's utterly disrespectful to say that only 'good books' deserve respect, while pulp can be lowercased away till the cows come home.

You also seem to be of the opinion (and that's absolutely fine, of course) that people who don't read are better than those who read Brown/Christie/Sheldon.

Go read. Please. You'll see why famous authors (the same ones who wrote your "favorite books") are famous.

While not clear on which authors you're referring to, obviously most famous authors are actually.. pulp. That is to say, if fame is measured by either name recognition or by book sales, Dan Brown would come up ahead of a Prudhomme or a Heinrich Boll.

On the other hand, if you're implying that they should re-read Dan Brown and realise just how *nudge nudge* good *wink wink* he is, you're being a tad (just a wee bit) facist.

Mudra said...

@shankar, firefoxcub: Yep, those should be colons. Thanks, they've been fixed. :)

@anon(s): Freedom of speech, but don't take it too far. At the end of the day, the power to delete is mine. *Evil laugh*

@one in a billion: Absolutely! I hate "lesser" too. Thanks for pointing it out.

@bobo: Clarifications seem to be in order. :) I didn't put it too clearly, but my problem was with people naming authors in their "Favorite books" sections (i.e. instead of book titles with authors). I enjoy Christie myself. And lowercase / misspelt names for all book titles irritate me, it's just that I'm more pissed off when they happen to books I like. Other than that, thanks.

@all: Thanks, thanks, and thanks. Don't ask to share the URL.

@no one in particular: Look, mommy! 40 comments! *faints*

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I am glad that someone pointed this out. One that bugs me most is "howz u".

MadMan said...

I am scared to write a comment here, lest I make a mistake!

I would understand irritation and resigned amusement but I seriously don't get the anger. Who stole your happiness?

Anonymous said...

-English is not our first language.
-Not everyone writing poems, fiction etc, are aspiring poets or writers.
-It is fine to make those mistakes you are talking about. (As long as you are not an English teacher or writing for a newspaper)

shakester said...

one of the anons: "would" & "the same" really get to me.
I somehow can't stand sms language creeping into emails. Heck, I dont think I tolerate it too much in text messages either!

bobo said...

*checks own profile*

Ach, guilty of that, though I did happen to mention that I like things written by the author, and not just the author.

But come now, for the sake of argument (obviously, it is your preference), what's so bad about that? Here though, is a case for intellectual snobbery (or posturing). - if I'm to list Philip Roth, is there a reasonable assumption that I've read all of Roth. It probably doesn't.

It only implies that a threshold number of books (say, 5? But depends on the number of books written by the author) have been read, and indicates a comfort with the style of writing. Hence if a person lists Wodehouse, it could mean only that, while that person doesn't have a categorised memory of quotes, he/she could settle down with any Wodehouse and plough through it without too much difficulty. The same goes for a Christie (gee, I've really been flogging her name), Dan Brown (though predictability isn't always good), Murakami or Neil Gaiman.

I kind of empathise with the spelling peeve, but the question is whether you'd rather accept a 'The Crying of Lot 49 is an odious and viscous read that makes the reader want to commit seppuku' or a 'cryin of L49 is da shiznit dawg! its gr8!!@#%'

While the answer obviously is up to the individual, I'd take the view that the only thing in contention here is the opinion of that person (and how much you choose to respect it), and not the status of the book itself in the universe. :)

Over Rated said...

This is too good. My sentiments exactly. I love the bit about the "favorite" authors. So true. Way to go.

Also, I never blog pimp but I did write something in the same genre (though not as good) last month:

http://oratedocast.blogspot.com/2008/04/ban-em.html

sumant said...

People who type in lowercase all the time, or uppercase all the time. Former, you look illiterate.

e e cummings did this, and I dare you to call him illiterate.

People who write poetry. Don't get me wrong. But when you write poetry that gets to its middle after just around 2 pages - you PISS ME OFF. You're not bloody Homer. (Of Iliad fame, not Simpson.)

Just so I don't get you wrong, I hope you're only referring to people who write bad long poetry. It's a little unfair to believe that only Homer should write epics. It is quite possible that the next kid is actually a bloody prodigy.

Ah, the fodder your post offers for grammatical pedantry! But I shall desist in the interest of humour, entertainment and general agreement with your sentiments.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Abt the thesaurus part : Been watching too much of Friends eh ?

Shiben Bhattacharjee said...

OK, so children, what have v learnt here 2day:
Keep writing wateva u wish 2 write, just dont let this woman see them, u will be fine...,..,...,,.. rotfl "!!!!!!!!"

(rotfl = roll on the floor laughing, it can be 'rofl' as well considering the 'the' irrelevant, but the thing is 'WE DONT CARE')

Vaibhav said...

Brilliant, to say the least. You, however, forgot the most irritating of all times; ANYWAYS. This deserves to be the first entrant of the Hall of (In)Fame, if there was one. I mean, next are we gonna hear ANYBODYS , ANYONES ?

Mahesh said...

"..."One Night at the Call Centre" and "Dan Brown" best, you deserve to die. ...."Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon," you deserve to be murdered."

So, what's good for you?

Does Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamozov" meet your esteemed standards?

Anonymous said...

What did Amit Varma get in return for posting this on his blog?

After having read Indiauncut for a while now, I am certain that his standard is much higher.

a traveller... said...

Hey, nice read! I suddenly feel I need to brush up my writing skills though! :s

Karan said...

Hehe.. Very well written.. My first day at work today, and I think people here are already wondering if there was a mistake in the CV shortlisting process, the way I am laughing to myself..

PS: Came here through India Uncut.. Guess this is a great example of a blog getting Kawasakied.(http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Kawasakied)

Moo said...

Wowee! That felt like someone stole into my brain and hijacked my thoughts! :O :D

A kickass post. :D

Amit said...

Do re-read the above post. You will find a reason to hate yourself.

Sujay said...

I pretty much agree with most of the post.Except the thing about social networking sites that people fill in authors in place of favorite books.I really do not give a damn what sections they give, all I want to share is my passion that I like the books of a particular author.Same about movies.

suman kumar said...

Hi, 'you' is an American pronoun. You wrote "Also, people who breathe down my neck while I read what you've written." You meant 'what THEY've written' No? And then you go on with your 'bloody' and 'sod-off'. Make up your mind. British or American? What's with 'Okay, I write humongous sentences at times too.' Don't know what's wrong with it?
And what's wrong with Dan Brown? Or that Call Center guy? You are better off giving advice on the language than on literary consumerism... child. ;-)

harithski said...

Well written. Da irny is dat google sugsts dat using dis srt of englsh over IM reduces da data dat has 2b transmitted thus saving energy. There is also a translation bot from google that translates proper English into BS. LOL

Deepankar said...

Bravo Mugdha,

It is so refreshing to see that one more person speaks her mind. There is still some orginality in the world of fakes.

Please keep it up.

Wanderer said...

Mannn. People are taking it really personally.

Just read the damn post and laugh!

Shan said...

@Wanderer:
"Just read the damn post and laugh!"

One would if it were funny.

It's just smug, superior, and amateurish.

Anonymous said...

You are one mean soul, aint you? get a life...

Anonymous said...

De gustibus non est disputandum.

~crazymms~ said...

absolutely funny !! loved the sarcasm with the bits of truth around it...


65 comments on one post : *envy* :-| :-|

Nabamalika said...

Hi!!
I had a friend leave me your blog's link and at the risk of repeating what has been said roughly sixty times already, this was good!! Witty and just the right amount of bitchy. Thoroughly enjoyed! :)

bhushan manek said...

hey mudra loved your post like hell!

may i post your blog on my facebook wall?
i'm bhushan manek, so if u say yes then i'd love to post ur blog ! :)

bestest blog ever read in my life, i might say !!!