Monday, January 22, 2007

Just whom do you think you are?

"Whom" is one of my favorite words because people on the innernets like to use it to try and grammatically alpha male someone else but usually end up using it incorrectly and end up looking really stupid. It's like a rhetorical firework that keeps on blowing up and changing colors. "Oooh! Aaah!" The hits just don't stop. The whom is typically embedded (incorrectly of course) in a statement dripping with arrogance and/or some other incorrect statement or misuse of they're/there/their.



I think I do a pretty good job of not misusing words because if I'm not 100% sure of them, I either a) look them up or b) use a word I'm 100% with. There's nothing wrong with this. Being wrong while attempting to look smart is like waaaaay worse than using a more simple word, so why not stick with the basics? Surrsly people, keep it simple. I'm sure you did a really nice job on argumentative writing style or debating or whatever in your freshman rhetoric class, but no one here is impressed. Unless you've really got your shit together, you're casting fake pearls before mongoloid swine by trying to be all snarky and literary..

The translators we have around here like using "whom" a lot. They also like putting stuff in the passive form (i,e. "The book was bought") because in Japanese the verb is at the end of the sentence, so it's a little bit easier for them. Also, when describing something, they like to say things like, "Did you see the girl who was riding on the bike?" as opposed to "Did you see that chick on the bike?" because it fits in a little bit easier with how their language works. Neither is wrong, but as far as "whom" goes, I propose that we get rid of it all together. I propose that we just say "WHO" for all situations and save a lot of pseudo-scholars a great deal of virtual-embarrassment.

Most of you probably agree with me, but some of you probably think that it's some sacred facet of the English language that must be preserved because of the essential role it plays. To you, I respond with the following:



That's me raising the bullshit flag. Or Bowser raising it.

You just want to keep "whom" around because you know how to use and you think that makes you special. You think it distinguishes you from the proletariat who doesn't know when and when not to throw a fucking /m/ noise at the end of the word "Who". You probably make a habit of correcting other peoples' grammar or pronunciation during debates instead of defending your position, which you have a tenuous grasp upon at best. Well I know what you're doing, because I do the same thing from time to time, so knock it off. Language snobbery does absolutely nothing to "maintain" some sort of language purity, because there's no such thing anyway. Probably the only thing keeping language from undergoing massive change from generation to generation is the written language, so just let language do what it's going to do anyway -- evolve. It likes evolving. It likes being streamlined. It will do it no matter what -- look at how educated folks spoke during the Civil War era. Languages don't like genitive cases and crazy bullshit like that. So just let it happen and let the /m/ go. If the word "who" had any major connection to the letter M, or if it were really a necessary distinction to be made in our silly language, we wouldn't be dealing with this problem in the first place. People wouldn't end up looking stupid in failed attempts at looking smart, and language snobs wouldn't be verbally buggering folks as part of some weird quest to make them feel bad about themselves.

So join me, folks. Help me abolish the word “whom” from the lexicon. It’s up to us to take a stand.

This post was written in lieu of anything else worth writing, and inspired by what I spend a lot of time doing at my job, which is correcting translations written in English by non-native speakers. Thank you for tolerating my stupid rant.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Uncle Mike said...

to whom are you addressing this to anywhom?

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

I'm with you Paul. Let's get rid of "whom". While were at it let's get some consistency in the spelling and pronunciation of English words.

It doesn't matter. In another generation all written English will look like a text message anyway.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

lolz stfu @ tony UDK WTF u r talking abt

pwnt

9:42 AM  
Blogger Jinxy said...

I always remember its proper use from watching the 80s movie, "Heaven Help Us", when the asshole priest makes the fat kid crawl across the floor saying "TO WHOM Brother Thadeus! TO WHOM!!"

11:36 AM  
Blogger brando said...

I like to say “aught not”.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man."
-Heidegger

Ahh, If we get to pick and choose the words we like, are we not assigning some quantitative value to our language? This sounds like one step down the long road that ends with a hillbilly proudly proclaiming that words have no inherent meaning/value. Tis a slippery slope senior!


-Joe

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can get rid of whom, but add Whilst. I dig that.

Your sister

12:59 AM  
Blogger bucket said...

I don't think you are aware how fundamental and well orchestrated the whom indoctrination is. I was helping my 8 yr old with her book report and I said... blah blah who blah blah and she, the little one in the story, corrected me..no mom it's whoM.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous brando said...

I don't have much of a problem with people correcting me. I suppose there is a way to go about it, and don't really care for it if they are trying to use it as a counterpoint. But if someone pulls me aside and says "Hey man, "Your" and "You're" are as different as night and day.", that's good to go.

The moment that someone corrects me incorrectly is when we have a problem.

I like phrasing it like this. "If you take it upon yourself to correct someone else, you forfeit the option of being wrong."

2:52 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

joe--
sounds like you're referring to certain members of our team who got a real kick out of dropping N-bombs every 10 minutes, and then wanted to "debate" me about it. i dunno if anyone else could tell, but i got really tired of retarded debates that deployment. it was like everytime i went to take a dump, someone wanted to have a 5th grade level philosophical debate with me. and by "someone" i mean "dirty d".

brando -- i prefer "if you correct me and are wrong, you forfeit any socially institutionalized protection against excessive public ridicule."

bucket you have to help get rid of whom, but like my sister says, "whilst" is a-ok. and i know you limies dig on whilst, so hook it up. if you dont, the terrorists have won.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Michael L. Heien said...

Whom is all we have left. The English language is quickly deteriorating to a mixture of valley-girl, redneck, and a mixture of grunts.

ALthough I am not a purist, we have to draw the line somewhere. We have already lost the difference between will and shall...people say "I wish I was..." instead of "I wish I were..."

When will it all stop? What is so hard about using the objective form of a word? You would not say "Me hungry." Why not combine "I" and "me" while you are at it?

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me and I together...hmm that's just crazy! Those are my two favorite subjects. That's like combining Christmas and your birthday...or beer and fillipino drin... let's not get carried away now.

We are evolving, most of us anyway, so why can't our language.

-Joe

1:59 PM  

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