You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Mar 12, 2007
Memo to Hans George and Parker Westbrook: STOP FUCKING WITH THE LANGUAGE.
Look. I know language evolves and changes over time. I know we can't be hide-bound and attached to concrete rules. I know that making up new words can be a source of pantemporal enjoyitude. But I still want to kick these two guys center-scrotum.
The two are very different people. Hans George works for Nike, and Parker Westbrook is a historian in Arkansas. But they're both willing to do things to the language that would make Alberto Gonzalez blush.
George, as the general manager of Nike's basketball division, was called upon to talk about Nike's new System of Dress, a basketball uniform being adopted by three college teams this year. It is, if you haven't seen it, ugly with a capital F. Take a gander.
I mean, I'm no fashion maven, but I look at that, and all I can think is that it's one tartan away from being suitable for the Edinburgh Speed Skating Association. It's an outfit that, I'll admit, makes you look like a dribbler. Just not the kind Nike had in mind. But as awful as the outfit is, it's nothing compared to a near-pinnacle of obscene market-speak that dribbled from George's own mouth. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"There's sort of that tattoo mentality in basketball of guys wanting to share a similar look but also stand out within that look. We expect that they make take some of the componentry and do something we might not really have imagined ourselves."
Componentry? I mean, talking about the "tattoo mentality" is bad enough, but COMPONENTRY? Is there a problem with the word "parts" that I was previously unaware of? Bits? Items? Pieces? I hereby invite Hans George to kindly lick some of the componentry of my genitalia.
Westbrook's crime is a bit subtler than George's frankenbeast of a word. But it's no less egregious. You see, Westbrook is the only man on the planet concerned with the difficulty of the possessive form of "Arkansas". And since he has a friend in the state legislature, now Arkansas' state legislature is going to be debating a non-binding resolution making the official possessive form of the state "Arkansas's".
Personally, I think it'd just be easier to take every material object in Arkansas, have a huge garage sale on the border, and set everything that doesn't sell in the first weekend on fire. That way, there would be no need for a possessive form, as nobody in Arkansas would actually possess anything. But nobody listens to me. Why enjoy the cleansing power of fire when you can fuck around with apostrophes? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"It is an esoteric subject, yes, but it is amazing how many people don't understand the possessive case." Some Arkansas historian HE is, being amazed by people not understanding stuff.
Even assuming there was some consensus regarding "Arkansas", "Arkansas'", and "Arkansas's", which there isn't; and even assuming that the extra "s" didn't make Arkansas look even more backwoods than it already is, which it does - since when has the venue for settling obscure grammatical points been non-binding resolutions in the Arkansas state legislature? Since fucking never, that's when.
And if they get it in their heads that they can, next thing you know they'll spend a month debating how to conjugate "yee haw". And nobody wants that.