Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's Ban the Dictionary!

Songwriting is the art of blending the sounds, meaning, and rhythm of words to touch the hidden places within people. I've often said that a great lyricist is perhaps the most valuable commodity in the music business.

Even without music, words are powerful packets of potential which can shape cultures and nations. Those who artfully wield words are natural leaders. One's fluency with language is a great determiner of how far he or she goes along the chosen path to success. One of the best books I've ever read is called "The Professor and the Madman". It's the amazing and riveting story of how the Oxford English Dictionary was created.

The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and they will have many challenges to face in a complex world where more than 3,000 languages are spoken. Below is an actual exchange that occurred among high school students on Facebook. It is unfortunately representative of a growing epidemic of linguistic lassitude and lethargy that I see among the hundreds of young people I work with every year. These are by no means kids from underperforming schools or distressed neighborhoods. They take honors classes, and have every opportunity to give themselves the great advantage of excellence of elocution. Fortunately not all of our future leaders are afflicted with logophobia, but is it far more prevalent than it was even ten years ago. Here is the verbatim Facebook conversation:


Person 1: The history of the dictionary is seriously in my history book. WHY?!??

Person 2: I should probably get on that

Person 1: omg its sooooo boringggggggg and uselessssssssssss

Person 2: Aww dont tell me that. tell me it is the most exciting stuff ever so I actually have a reason to do it besides the urge to not fail

Person 1: i'm not gonna lie. its terrible. apparently the dictionary was the best-selling book. how pathetic is that?!?

Person 2: I must say that that isn pretty sad. And that whole thing about the dictionary being the best selling book is ridiculose

Person 3: HAHAHAHHA. i just read that and was like, dude, eff you! you suck! haha. i hate the dictionary!


So there you have it. This clearly shows the influence and power of words. It has changed my entire outlook. I've been spending far too much time always trying to find the right words, to use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation, and to be clear. I sprain my back lifting my heavy dictionary off the shelf. What a waist of time! I been such a moran! Like they said above, its ridiculose! Well, aftur reeding this, I hafta legree. Iz bettur to like not reed dum stuff like a dicktionery. I want spend my time get a big cushy job that pays lotta bucks, so I jus goona be a docta or criminal layer and rite a good rezumee so someone will higher me. HaHaHa HA HAHA omg this is soooooo cooool! Yep, I feel much bedder now. No wait -- a few more HaHAA ha HHA -- there. Now done.

...Bill Pere