I’m not God’s gift to journalism but I consider myself a decent writer. There are lots of folks out there that are better than me, but I’ve thrown down some bad-ass prose in my time and I can look back on what I’ve accomplished with a certain amount of pride. I’ve also made mistakes for all to see and laugh at – using the word “situation” three times in a run-on sentence is my personal best – and I’ve learned from those mistakes. And while I have the whole grammar thing down pat (barring any stylistic wanderings on my part that I justify in the pursuit of creativity) every so often I see a story or review I wrote that’s gone to print with some glaring errors and think “Nice one, you dolt…” Sure, I could blame the editor, but I try not to.
With the general pace of life and all the instant messaging going on these days (and please, kiddies, keep the fucking laptop away from the bathtub!) it’s no surprise that grammatical rules have gone to hell. Blogs, text messages, Twittering, online bulletins… everyone has a voice whether they can write or not, syntax be damned. Can’t blame them, either, because ultimately it’s the message that’s important to them and the parties involved, not how pretty it looks.
On a formal level, however, presentation counts. Anyone with half a brain knows this, which makes me question how it’s possible that record label promo department staff and music journalists – established and wannabes – are able to keep their jobs with the way many of them operate these days.
The thorn stuck in my throat? I’ll give you an example:
“Sweater Puppy Massacre is a new Band from the seventh Level, of hell destined to replace Britney Spears! as the Queen of pop Music and Bad Hair.”
I see this happening more and more, with writers sitting on their “shift” and “comma” keys as they wade through their text, capitalizing anything that looks like it might be one of those noun things, putting breaks where they look coolest (?!). I’m guessing these folks flunked See Spot Run 101.
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that I actually asked my BW&BK colleague Martin Popoff about six months ago if someone had changed the rules. Evidently they haven’t; people have just become lazy and stupid.
To be fair, I’ve yet to see a full story printed in such a haphazard manner. I’m guessing the editors cursed with having to clean up such disasters are actually doing their jobs, but still… when major publications are issuing online blogs this sloppy it makes me wonder how in the hell they and their staff retain any credibility. Sure, a lot of fans don’t care and may not even notice, which is a pity. It would do these morons a world of good to have some 16-year-old hit them with a “Dude, your writing sucks balls…”
Press releases, another story entirely. Major labels and minor powers selling their products to the industry with a document written up like a Grade 6 geography notebook? Only thing that’s missing are the boob doodles in the margins. Pathetic.
I see musicians writing blogs like the above example and I think, “Well, he became a musician because he doesn’t know how to write…” 😉 Forgiven, absolutely. I see my “peers” do it and I wonder what kind of slobs they are when the computer is switched off.
On second thought, I don’t want to know.