Saturday, January 17, 2009

A case for the language police

The Guardian's Decca ("EMI") Aitkenhead on Our Lady of the Fishfingers:

In person she is dainty, almost exaggeratedly ladylike, and much more playfully ambivalent than the public debate about her book.

"Playfully ambivalent" is the kind of phrase taught in "Introduction to Literary Theory" classes all over the world that any sane and salaried person over the age of 27 ought to cull from her or his vocabulary. It's the graduate's version of "awesome" and just as frigging grating.


Francis Sedgemore said...

Charlotte Roche, Charlotte Church – there's but a few letters separating them, and the class and cultural differences are immaterial. You have to hand it to these sassy celebs (and their publicists); they are experts in playing the system to their advantage.

The Wife said...

"You have to hand it to these sassy celebs (and their publicists)..."

... of course I'm completely envious of these "playfully ambivalent" chicks who, despite having no formal education to speak of manage to make more than a living with their dubious products, are elevated to the status of the intellectual voice of their generation and get called "novelists" to boot.

In fact, these days Charlotte Roche is regularly compared to J.G. Ballard (by people, I guess, who only know him from hearsay and think that his books are all about kinky sex with windscreen wipers).

What is worse than all that, though, are the bourgeois subversionistas who seriously believe that Charlotte Roche's presumed radicalism will rub off on them when they listen to the audiobook of Wetlands on the way to the office. Now that's one hell of a way to undermine the system!

Francis Sedgemore said...

Behold the Newsnight Review generation!

The trick is to have at least one crappy novel, a good agent, a memorable name and the ability to talk utter shite at will on camera. The Grauniad is, like, so yesteryear.

The Wife said...

"Roche" is too difficult a name to be memorable, though. Nobody knows how to pronounce it. As in Rosh Hashana? As in "reefer"? With a German "ch"?

The Grauniad is the most annoyingly backward piece of politically correct shit that I know of. It's on a part with the Mail, honestly.

Francis Sedgemore said...

""Roche" is too difficult a name to be memorable, though. Nobody knows how to pronounce it."

I beg to differ. "Roche" is not a particularly uncommon name among the Anglophone metrosexual middle classes, and everyone pronounces it as "rosh".

mikeovswinton, lingopolice said...

You think its only undergraduates that say "awesome" ? You really haven't been to the real Midwest have you? When you hear it in every single sentence you hear - from 10 year olds, 20 year olds etc up to 80year olds you'll understand the meaning of the word grating.

The Wife said...

"Rosh" as in "posh"?

Actually I meant that for most Germans the name presents some pronunciation difficulties. As does "Ian", "Hughes" and "ewe."

The Wife said...

"As do", that is. Apologies for the grammatical incoherence -- I have the 'flu and feel like death warmed over.