Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Don't Speak
I'm suspicious of these newfangled TiVo and DVR devices. We, as a people, do not need this much control over what we are exposed to and what we process in terms of our #1 best-pal mass media, the trusty and reliable TV.

I'm a little frustrated by the movement because I'm just so very tired. By now we were all supposed to be completely homogenized by telelvision, warmly and lovingly brainwashed, perfectly primed to fulfill our primary societal roles as consumers and nothing else.

Remember just after 9/11? What were we supposed to do? Sign up for military service? Organize locally to ensure the safety mutual support of those closest to us? Nope, we were supposed to go out to dinner. And shop. Be American. From the President himself.

It was a simpler time then. I felt like, finally, the time had come where I could leave aside all that thinking and self-determination and let my mass-media-implanted programming take over.

But alas, here I am. Maybe it's just me, but the decision-making-abdication-algorithm doesn't seem to be finished. Not only do I have to think about stuff and figure out what to do all by myself, but I'm constantly running up against little, jarring reminders of how we as a nation are not yet the happy, one-thought, one-mind Big Brother dystopia I was promised by Huxley and Orwell and Disney.*

Language is the most prominent example of how we as a people in America are so far from the dream of synchronized drone-hood.

Look at the word "huge". There are people who, for some unexplained reason unrelated (as far as I can tell) to region or socio-economic condition, cannot properly pronounce the word "huge". Somehow, someway they insist on saying it with a "y" on the front, like "yooge".

Does that make any kind of sense to anyone else? I mean, some of these little things you can forgive because people were born in certain places and just don't know better like the disgusting way people in the Great Lakes region all flatten out and nasalize their vowels. I have family in that general area who--and this still boggles--have two different pronunciations for the words "dawn" and "Don" (like a man's name). The first one is kind of normal and doesn't make my sinuses bleed while the second one is a horrible banshee scree "Daaaaaaaan". Only it doesn't sound like "Dan" either. There is no letter I can type that can accurately recreate that sound they make. It's some kind of mix between E and A and O, all short and long at the same time. If I could represent it graphically, it would have to be little drawing of a man with his fingers in his ears, sobbing in despair and shame over his genetic linguistic inheritance. I'll get to work on that right away.

Sometimes the question isn't even pronunciation, but usage. For some reason there are places in America where any store with the word "-mart" and the end of its name is automatically plural. You've got "K-Marts" and "Wal-Marts" as in: "I'm going to wait to buy this powder-blue polyester track suit. I saw the same thing on sale over at the K-Marts."

But that's regional. And kind of stupid. See, they just don't know any better.

I can't find a single regional reason that explains "yooge", though. It just seems sort of individually contrarian.

Maybe that's the point. Maybe it's some kind of secret society verbal handshake that indicates membership into an anti-conformity organization whose goal is to defend us all from the horrors of linguistic uniformity and--by extension--tyranny in general. Maybe "yooge" is just the first shot in a larger movement; yesterday it was non-standard ridiculous word pronunciation, today it's TiVo and the ability to bend Almighty Television to the individual will. Maybe the movement will one day grow into a violent struggle pitting hardy band of syntactically-challeged rebels against their phonetic and numerical superiors in a valiant but ultimately hopeless last-gasp against the blending of America into one happy off-white Caramel Macchiato.

And one day it will all be turned into a kick-ass must-see event mini-series on F/X or USA Network.

And I will totally watch it. AND all the commercials. It will be yuge.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.9


*= yes, Disney. Only unlike Huxley and Orwell, Disney was happy about the idea. And in Disney's future, there are more singing dolls. And all the rides suck.


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