Friday, February 26, 2016

I'm The Worst Sort

Ah, if you knew how hard it is for me to try to be good you'd be impressed at even this much progress has been made. You should have seen what I was saying twelve years ago.  

I can't help it, I love to tease people who try to diss me while cherishing the thought that I crave their respect.  I don't.  And when they start it I love to offend their tender sensibilities and their petty conventions, their most cherished idols and their conventional pieties.    Speaking of which, Thorstein Veblen, from the close of his Theory of the Leisure Class.

As felicitous an instance of futile classicism as can well be found, outside of the Far East, is the conventional spelling of the English language. A breach of the proprieties in spelling is extremely annoying and will discredit any writer in the eyes of all persons who are possessed of a developed sense of the true and beautiful. English orthography satisfies all the requirements of the canons of reputability under the law of conspicuous waste. It is archaic, cumbrous, and ineffective; its acquisition consumes much time and effort; failure to acquire it is easy of detection. Therefore it is the first and readiest test of reputability in learning, and conformity to its ritual is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life.

That's what I've been doing, offending a ritual which is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life, and it is a pure pleasure to do so.   I'm the worst sort.


  1. As a lifelong speller who hates to be a git about it, I have to say there is a difference between "serge" and "surge."

    And the difference is important.

    OTOH, Bernard Shaw was right to point out that the "correct" spelling for "fish" is actually: GHOTI.

    It's a long and tedious explanation, but he makes the same point.

    Still: Weigh and way; hay and hey. Waste and waist. Plane v. plain. And so on.

    It's a weird language. (Another word that violates the rule about "i before e").

  2. I don't think that anyone would mistake " the power serge wrecked the computer" for a superhero in the form of a bolt of cloth or "a blue surge coat" for the uniform of a comic superhero.

    I think that the spelling of a language should be as nearly and regularly phonetic as possible or flexible enough to accommodate a deficiency in the possession of a good sight memory, the basis of skill in spelling as far as I've been able to gather. The standard spelling of English is a hindrance to communication because it has kept lots of people from using the written language. I'd say it's hindered the use of reasoning and analysis, too. There is no substitute for putting your thoughts down in writing or typing and going over it to see if it coheres.

    There is also a lead balloon and the lead of an article, an article which I read yesterday and the one I will read today. I passed him on the way to the store and he was going way too fast. etc. English spelling contains numerous examples when the same spelling is used to write different denotations and different words pronounced both the same way and in different ways as well as different spellings for words pronounced the same way. Now, if I spelled that "the same weigh" someone would not weight too make a rude remark about that, though there would be no ambiguity if I just red the sentence out loud.

    I'd settle for getting rid of the two or five hundred or so most often misspelled antiquated spellings of the most used words and regularizing doubling of letters (or, better, dropping them when not pronounced) and the dropping of silent letters in inflections. I think that computers are going to force a spelling reform anyway.