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Thiz Poast To2lly Rox! December 16, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Music, Pop Culture Rants.
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We keep trying to solve our educational system’s declining prowess in the world. The USA, for years, was viewed as the pantheon of educational prowess, and not just because we knew how to properly use words like “pantheon,” “prowess” and “the.” But because we were really were pretty good at. Our schools were top notch. Our teachers were inspirational leaders who, if movies have shown me anything, riled us up to stand against authority, succeed in the face of adversity and have us read poetry in the woods naked. While I’m not what birthday suit renditions of Rimbaud accomplish, I do know that we were educating some fine, intelligencia. And then it stopped. Like child support checks signed “K. Federline,” the system dried up. And now we have to depend on Oprah or Bill gates or some rich benefactor with a complex try to stop the gaping wound with ill placed band-aid like state of the art computer centers or pools. (Because when taking the SAT, it is important you have found away around your school’s firewall so you can look at porn or play World of Warcraft, right?)

But what happened? Like that old guy who waves you off his lawn with a blunt rusty gardening tool while wearing tattered robes and wifebeaters, I blame music. Not because of the minds its’ lyrics can warp. Not because of the rampant sex and general debauchery it can cause (I still get amorous when I hear Barry Manilow, we all do.) But music has done one thing above all to mush our brains and school systems to slightly above Yemen and the Maldives on the educational prowess list.

And that would be misspelled band names.

The epidemic of misspelling in music had its roots in song titles. The first documented culprit were the strange family, commune/jam band known as Sly and The Family Stone (not to be confused with The Family Stone, a leader in the “crappy holiday movie” disease of 2005). Their song “”Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” was a worldwide hit. People across the planet were shocked by this collection of horns and grunts and strange people saying words they could not understand. The song was a pioneer in misspelling. It made sense when you spoke it aloud, but staring at on a piece of paper made you wonder if this was some sort of strange new language that was being brought to us by a new world community which served up nothing but peace and love. That thought soon quickly faded when we dismissed the spelling to lazy proofreading by a technician who was too busy trying to clean the bongwater off his reel-to-reel that he let it slip by. Whatever this happenstance created, it served notice. Misspelling was a way to get your point across. It made people think you were special or different. It made your band seem that no rules, even those of grammar and spelling, applied to you. You could make a statement with words, not your music. Sly and the Family Stone, unfortunately, disbanded a few years later when in a heated argument, Sly left the group when he wanted to change the group name to Webster, Biatch. Yet their mark was left.

Soon bands were changing letters in their songs left and right. But the misspelling was left to the titles of songs. And nobody really writes the titles down. You don’t break out a placard at a concert reading “Play Sk8er Boi,” you shout it, leaving the hip statement of your grammar abilities behind. (Notable exception: Asking for The Who songs in written format or Braille is fully acceptable…in fact, they suggest it for maximum fulfillment.) So realizing the idea of misspelling their songs was not getting their anarchist or hip or funky vibes across, bands began to misspell the only thing they could think of: their own names.

Led Zeppelin was the first to branch out with this “purposeful misspelling.” While they never really came out and admitted it, how many people do they know they got to listen to them because the people thought, “How ballsy are they? They don’t even need extraneous vowels. That must mean their music rocks!” And taking the cue of their gritty, string hairy British brethren, Def Leppard followed several decades later. But, being younger and feistier than the white pantsuited elder idols, they misspelled both words. That’s right. Not only did they not need extra vowels, but they were going to misspell a word most people didn’t spell correctly anyway. When kids see this word they learned in a 5th grade vocabulary lesson entitled ‘We Go To The Jungle,” and see it misspelled, the subconscious thinks, “Wow, these guys are badasses” and “So, that’s how leopard is spelled.” (How else can we explain our fascination with ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me,’ a song with lyrics only slightly ickier than ‘My Ding-A-Ling.’ Mr. Elliot, keep your sticky sweet away from me, thank you very much.) Soon, essays across the country were missing vowels and looking like drunken sailors wrote them. The first wave of damage had been done.

And then it got worse. Bands that wished to convey their extremeness and their radical nature began adding extra “X” to everything, or worse dropping an “E” before their name (Don’t pine for the “E”s however; most of them were sent to Indiana, care of Dan Qualye’s new potato chip venture). And the worse culprit of all were bands that eschewed the typical plural convention that for years was nothing more than a simple “s” and replacing it with a “Z” (Boyz II Men, being the prime example) Apparently, a Z made you him and gave a phonetic boost to your overall bands sizzle. Heck, the letter Z even makes you think of the word sizzle (unless you are Greek, then you think of the word Zorba; bands take them chance, often eschewing the untapped Hellenic market.) With this over saturation becoming the norm, vocab scores plummeted and our descent into educational disrepair was near unfixable.

With the average IQ now down, the floodgates opened. Look at the deluge of misspellings saturating the CD counters. Staind. Limp Bizkit. Korn. With the point of creating a separatist identity long gone as the purpose, the names are doing nothing more than making people view the words as gospel. And when spelling is the first to go, prepositional use, verb tense and soon coherence in all its’ forms are first to go. It’s like intelligence Alzheimer’s: first, we can’t spell and the next thing we know, they’re selling Cliff’s Notes for Goodnight Moon.

And it won’t stop. What’s worse is that the bands have simply misspelled for the norm, not for a point.  And because of the rampant misuse of letters, we are failing as a nation.  And until as a group they stop, we’ve got nowhere to go but Doyuwn. Or Dizown, for you rap afficiandos.

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Comments»

1. Ratboy - December 28, 2006

Me know lik dis. I iz verry smert. I goes 2 Florda Statee- We’s got edubacated. My brane bee bigg. I lick katts. Dey iz kute. Me luv pussy. U hav puss? Can Eye pet you pussy? Meow! Meow! Ouch! My skull bone hurtz. Y oh, Y I hit self wif clawhammer? Wil u send me prezent? I liks Funyuns. Dey yummy in tummy. Oooo! Looky! Looky! Wiggles on tee-ve ! Got to go pet my puss.

Love,
Joe Kinzyavich

2. doctorolove - December 31, 2006

Happpeee Brithday


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