The World is Woke and Everyone Speaks Yeet. What Happened?
Our generation desperately needs voices that don’t write in acronyms, emojis, and memes.
I’d like to have a word about how we’ve abused our language.
My biggest challenge in my career was at the beginning. I spent my entire undergrad writing academic essays and getting lost in Google Scholar archives. Using scholastic jargon like “deindividuation” and “epistemological solipsism.” Writing papers 30, 40, 50 pages long about the social construction of reality, or cataloguing a performance ethnography on marginalized groups. Then I started a career in advertising, writing three word fragments using made-up horseshit like “lit, finna yeet this woke-ass ratchet boi off a cliff, u feel fam?”
Weird flex, but okay.
My copy was plagued with dry jokes and long, dull scripts. I eventually got the hang of it when I realized I just needed to write like an idiot. All I had to do was dumb it down. A lot.
Because we’re dumbing down our language.
Many people get their educations and walk away, putting only a fraction of their knowledge and skills to use. The rest, they bury in some dusty corner of their mind, under a stack of boxes labeled “math” and “standardized testing.” Writing skills tend to be one of them.
In doing so, we’ve evolved to read and write with a bogus dialect invented by mobile messaging, social media, and typing with our thumbs. It’s lowered the value of proper word and sentence mechanics. Yet, it’s widely accepted. Even my boss sends me texts with nonsense like “YAAAAS.”
Let me tell you right now, that’s not an excuse to let all those years you spent learning to be proper go to waste.
We need clarity and precision of thought. We once had a common currency for reading and writing. And we still require orthodox language skills in all formal education. But our daily forms of communication are bogged down with little yellow faces, hand gestures, and an array of nonsensical objects. Our words are cut to bits and pieces, others are replaced with lingo that resembles the crap a 2-year-old spits out of their snot-nosed face.
This has happened throughout the course of history and language, and I understand that language evolves. A friend of mine in Paris once told me the French they speak in Canada resembles the French they spoke in Europe, 400 years ago.
But the internet of things has accelerated this bizarre form of semiotic evolution while simultaneously eliminating the rich vocabulary we’ve built as a civilization over hundreds of years—dismantling our carefully established rules of terminology and sentence structure over less than a decade of technological revolution.
All I’m saying is, our minds are going dull and nobody has the motivation to sharpen theirs.
I know language evolves, but this isn’t natural choice. This is destroying the fabric of the beautiful code we’ve developed over our long existence to be great and proper.
When aliens finally beam down to meet us, I really hope we don’t greet them with emojis.
And yes, I am very fun at parties.