Enough with spreading the word on atheism, because I’ve got a new mission now: saving the English language. So if you’re here looking for some snark about religionists, you’ve come to the wrong ... well, OK, just skip to the last few paragraphs.
But let’s begin by boarding my train of thought, shall we?
Yesterday, my local rag saw fit to devote nearly a page and a half to an article about Miley Cyrus, a teenage superstar and the envy of every prepubescent girl in America. Apparently, if the hype is to be believed, when those young women are not obsessing over boys or whether their tits will ever grow, they’re fixated on every detail of Miley’s life. Of course, you may know her better as Hannah Montana, the character she plays on her Disney-produced TV show. Or, if you’re like me, you may not know her at all.
Now, had I been the editor-in-chief of the paper, I might not have opted to devote so much room to that article and its huge accompanying pictures. I mean, y’know, what with all the, like, stuff that’s, you know what I mean?, like, happening all over the ... um ... world and places like that. But, hey, everyone knows that the newspaper audience in a smallish city filled with retirees is made up mostly of tweenage girls, so I guess it was a sound editorial choice to run that story.
Miley's answers to questions reflect the glib talk of someone who has no idea that words are supposed to have meanings. And reading what Miley said has me wondering whether we as a country have already started devolving in our ability to communicate verbally. Granted, Miley Cyrus is no orator; but she is the trend-setter for millions of kids who want to be like her. Here are some sample answers she gave.
When asked about her new “adult” CD, recorded under her own name rather than that of her character’s:
To be played on these radio stations is awesome, to be able to rock out to it in your car without planning it, without it being just a kids’ channel.... I’m making it a little more fun and edgy, and I think being able to step out of the “Hannah Montana” thing — not in a way where I’m forgetting her completely, but as my fans grow up, me growing up, too, and kind of having my own person.When asked about “mistakes” she has made:
It’s kind of hard to let someone that was so young when they started kind of grow up. You just have to realize that people make mistakes and that makes you almost a little more relatable.When asked about the songs that she, herself, wrote:
I hope I get respected a little bit more as a writer. I want them to respect me and know that I have a lot to say. I have a lot for the world to know and take away from what my life experiences have been.When asked about allowing the character Hannah Montana to age along with her:
There’s some things that I want to reinvent with her look, and not make it all sparkles and butterflies, you know? Some stars, and some black rock ‘n’ roll stuff. I did want it to grow up a little bit.When asked about touring as Hannah Montana:
I’m kind of past that stuff. But I definitely wanna keep doing my show. I love doing it and I wouldn’t wanna give it up quite yet.OK, so why am I clogging up the intertubes ranting about a semi-literate young lady?
Here’s part of a Christian’s comment that I’ve lifted from chappy’s blog, with her kind permission. I’ve combined paragraphs, but otherwise the quote is verbatim:
If all existence is nothing more than the interaction of matter and energy, then there can be no knowledge, no science. Practical science is predicated on the philosophy of science, but that philosophy is itself not physical. Ideas, reason, logic… are all held to be a part of reality, but they deny any sort of physical description. In fact they require some semblance of personhood to exist, and personhood itself resists a reductionist, naturalist description. The concept that metaphysical concepts such as logic and persons are as fundamental to existence as empirical things is why I remain a theist.Here’s another Christian’s writing, from the same comment thread. Again, I’ve sewn the paragraphs together, but left the language intact:
The narratives of the Bible have a deeper complexity of meaning then meets the eye. The human race is in intellectual obscurity as to the nature of the Holy Word’s expanded meanings within its literal sense. This is why the Lord has promised to return “with the clouds.” One may take this literally and believe that the Second Coming will take place on an overcast day, or elevate the natural meaning of these words to their psycho-spiritual equivalent, and understand that the Lord’s return is not a physical event, but His clearing up the obscure ideas we have about ultimate reality and the divine scheme. These new ideas are now being made available to the world.Both Miley Cyrus’s interview and those comments by Christians are evidence of the debasement of our language. Words readily flow, but they have no relationship to one another. Vague ideas are presented by piling on what are essentially nonsense phrases in “Jabberwocky” style. Compare:
- ... kind of having my own person
- they require some semblance of personhood to exist ...
- I have a lot for the world to know and take away from what my life experiences have been.
- These new ideas are now being made available to the world.
- I love doing it and I wouldn’t wanna give it up quite yet.
- The concept that metaphysical concepts such as logic and persons are as fundamental to existence as empirical things is why I remain a theist.
- You just have to realize that people make mistakes and that makes you almost a little more relatable.
- The human race is in intellectual obscurity as to the nature of the Holy Word’s expanded meanings within its literal sense.