Sunday, June 18, 2006

Another Modest Proposal

In the recent political turmoil over immigration, a most interesting aspect of this controversy has made an appearance. Some Congressmen are proposing to make English the official language of the United States.

How about we go one better and make Proper English the official language. This idea has legs: it could go somewhere. This modest proposal is a most fortuitous turn of events. A major paradigm shift in American culture could result in this modest proposal. A means is at hand to separate the ruling and working classes that money just cannot buy.

If Proper English were to become the only mode of acceptable communication then only those versed in grammar and usage would be able to communicate. The great unwashed and other undesirables would have no voice. Not only the problem of immigrants would be solved but the mass of most common Americans would be disenfranchised. Is this a great country or what?

All government communication would be done in Proper English. All citizens would still have the right to petition Congress for redress, however, they could only do so in Proper English.

Any form of improper English would be outlawed. Use of colloquial speech or slang would result in a ticket. Any form or document not using Proper English would be ignored. Only those who could communicate properly would be allowed to conduct business. Diction would have as much importance as the context of the message.

Split an infinitive, dangle a participle, or even mix metaphors and the offender would be fined or even restricted. Jail time could be spent studying correct English usage so that when the offender returns to society that could converse properly.

Lyrics in songs, dialogue in television shows and movies, or any other form of entertainment would have to be done in Proper English or the artist would lose the ability or least the access to continue in their chosen field. They would be a positive influence in language usage or they would be no influence at all.

Even here on the internet, if improper English is used, the NSA by monitoring all internet traffic would identify the language abuser and their access would be revoked. The same is true for voice communication such as cell telephones – which the NSA is already set up to monitor.

We may need a whole new agency to monitor language usage: Usage Police, Word Watchers, Grammandos, or Syntaxmen. Of course, made-up words like the previous facetious examples would not be allowed.

Those that can write and speak properly would come to rule the United States as they should. Someone the likes of George W. Bush could never become President again. Elitists would rule. Nor would we need ever worry about grassroots or populist movements again – that is unless they are properly phrased.

The study of English usage in school would take on a whole new meaning. No matter how good a person is in sports or science, unless they can use English properly, they will get no diploma. Children could learn earlier that to be a true American is to speak and write English better than even…well, the English. Maybe we need to change the name of the language we use to American.

I am not even sure this post would pass muster.
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