Against the horror which is colloquial English

January 26, 2014

Poetry, in some form or other, has been around for millennia, but we all know that some poems are better than others–some, in fact, are nothing more than rank, offensive bile that should be suppressed at all costs.

I would go so far as to say that any poetry which contains colloquial English usage–Anglo-Saxon monosyllables or colorful metaphors, those plagues of expression, scourges of proper Puritan thought, should be entirely abolished, and everyone—rich, poor, and middle-class; black, white, purple and green; man, woman and child—should be encouraged–nay, forced!–to speak like a college textbook.

By far the most offensive poetry of recent decades goes by the name of “rap” “music.” Notice my strategically-placed inverted commas, suggesting both my disdain for the monosyllabic descriptor and the suggestion that it is, in fact, music.

Young hoodlums pen crudely rhymed verses laced with a wide range of inappropriate vocabulary, which they set to music and somehow manage to sell in massive quantities to the young and ignorant. Meanwhile, the literary world is full of serious Sonneteers who can’t even make ends meet on their meagre poet’s salary.

And so, like old expurgators of past centuries who removed all references to buggery, face-fucking, etc from the old Greek poetry, I propose a general expurgation of “rap” so that it may be palatable for a general audience.

Perhaps in the process we may give gainful employment to the odd serious poet, who will no doubt be grateful for a respite from his mundane and excessive workload at the local Starbucks.

I have thus taken the liberty of removing all colloquial usage from a section of Jay-Z’s classic known as “Big Pimpin” in order to demonstrate what I mean–perhaps it will serve as an example for future poet-expurgators:

You realize, of course, that I am not your usual apologetic serial monogamist–while I am happy to ameliorate the dismal living conditions of various nubile young damsels, and even to pay for costly aesthetic treatments at the local beauty parlor, I refuse to pay for the general manutention of such females.

Lo! when a woman dares complain about my admittedly harsh relationship management tactics, I am quick to leave her for another. Indeed, Madam, I am, as they say, rather heavy-handed with members of the fairer sex.

In fact, I keep many women on-call until the moment when a bout of concupiscence overcomes me, at which point they may be offered the opportunity to fellate me in my automobile. Many fair maidens wish to force me into matrimony, so that I will be legally obliged to facilitate them 50% of my net worth if we should someday part ways.

However, Madam, simply because you are well-versed in the kamasutric arts, it does not follow that I should give financial support to your lavish lifestyle. 

The new version is vastly different, of course, than the original, which is not worthy of serious comment. The abundance of latinate synonyms in lieu of those base Saxon four-letter abominations is the most notable change.

This is clearly a step in the right direction, however, many astute readers will surely be offended at the poem’s expression of a healthy male libido.

The suppression and eventual prohibition of the male libido is of course a noble cause which should be taken up by all, but if I were to expurgate these verses of all content which might be offensive to our noble feminist sisters, very little would remain.

Some may say that the abolition of colloquial English and the bowdlerizing of poetry is not an important issue in these days of economic crisis, war, instability, environmental destruction, and widespread inequality. But I propose that:

1) A strict application of Orwellian grammar;

coupled with

2) A policy of insulting, humiliating, shaming and ridiculing all those who differ in their opinions even slightly;

will together create the type of peaceful, loving, harmonious society which we all wish to see, in which conflict will be rendered impossible by sheer grammatical and lexical impossibility.

Those who would make the rebuttal that my policies are little better than a Stalinist persecution of dissenting opinions will be welcome to express themselves fully in the Adventure and Outdoor Fun Camps for Linguistic Dissidents that the government is setting up in Siberia.

So be respectful out there.

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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