Monday, February 22, 2010


Hello everyone

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the scourge of the uneducated. I am the correction of misspelled words. I am the anti-intellectual. I am the saviour that the English, or indeed any language needs but never asked for.

Perhaps said language was too was too dumb or undereducated to specify what it wanted. I am the pedant who interpreted this for myself. I turned up and changed everything.

Rather, everything changed until the pedant showed up.

Pedantry is, unfortunately, a growing art. It appeals to those that nobody really wants to listen to. They speak very loud and very clearly about points of conversation, both written and spoken that nobody, especially the speaker, really gives a shit about or didn't address in the first place. Pedants live frozen in the epicentre of a language that was meant to grow and was always unstable to begin with. Anyone with a taste for understanding will pretty much write or type a sentence so you will understand it, to the best of their knowledge and education. Misspell a word often enough and with enough perpetrators to back it up and it will make Oxford English dictionary. But in order to make it into the Oxford English dictionary your misspelled word had to penetrate a wall of pedantry. Through people that halt any kind of progress or regress, as it were, of spelling. Is the word “thru” more useful than “through”? It's certainly easier to type! If I said to you that I was driving thru Athlone in order to get to the funeral of my Grandmother, you might say “Wow, your grandmother died?, that's so unfortunate! If you had driven through Meath it would be so much quicker!”. The pedant will say “It's through, not thru” half way through your typed sentence. Missing the point for the sake of giving you a lesson you never asked for. One fun thing about school was being free afterwards. I'd hate to close my eyes and wake up in school. Why do you subject me to this nightmare? Anyone ever have a nightmare you were in school or late for it? It makes me wish cyber-punching was possible. Man or woman, my first instinct is to punch the offending pedant. How I have to stave of the unrelenting hunger to thwart this scoundrel!

And indeed, the pedant may go as far as to correct my last sentence too. They might go out on a limb and say it was valid once to talk in ye olde English but they still want to correct you for being wrong! They are so completely anti-progress and it grinds my gears something terrible. And there's something else about it that bothers me too. Why feel the need? Do you understand what's being said? Did the speaker actually ask for your advice or are you dishing it out free of charge? Certainly, accuracy is needed when teaching a child their native language or a grown-up a foreign language. It helps them get around in the world. What if this pedant was in school with you, is friends with you and actually knows that you understand in the first place? What then is the point? I'll tell you why. In the presence of someone they know, they don't want to feel better than you. They just want to BE better than you. Humankind is competition. If these guys were in the same league as you it's no surprise they want to shine. They say “Look at me, I'm so clever and educated”.

I say “Look at you, you miss the point almost every time. Sorry I didn't speak my sentence, syllable by syllable, EXACTLY how you imagined it”.These guys hold back the process of change and advancement to a large degree. Did it occur to you pedants that we might have more important things to do than sit by correcting everything we say so your anus can loosen up a little bit in our company? Ultimately, the pedant is someone who cannot let go of textbook knowledge. I myself love textbook knowledge for what it is, but I know nobody wants to be exposed to it, mid-sentence when it has absolutely noting to do with what I was saying in the first place. Textbook knowledge is there to be elaborated on, not taken word for word or in this case, l.e.t.t.e.r b.y l.e.t.t.e.r.

Teachers are teachers and pedants are pedants. Teachers teach you method and to some degree allow you the freedom to express it and sometimes, ENCOURAGE it. They have learned and they have had hundreds and thousands of students. Pedants don't want you to draw outside the lines because their narrow view cannot accommodate it. Within their scope, you are under their control and guidance. More often than not a pedant is not a teacher, lecturer, professor or guide of any sort. They might be someone currently studying a subject or art, but they are never professionals. They just want to be professionals. And they want you to know that. They correct you so you might say something like: “Wow, aren't YOU super-educated! Thank you for affording me your guidance FREE OF CHARGE!”. If you are a pedant and reading this I'll tell you this free of charge. Quite often, people don't want your advice. I would go out on a limb and say 99.5 times out of 100 people don't want it at all. That .5 of a person is accepting your advice begrudgingly. If you want to be a teacher, do it in the classroom. If you want to be a professor, a lecture hall will do. A pedant? Morgue. Simple as. You are killing progress by snagging every single error and mistake and hopefully progress will have it's revenge and kill you by causing an embolism or aneurysm from straying outside your grey, boring and repulsive borders. Go do something worthwhile like give people advice who need it... Junkies, under-age pregnant teens, Juvenile delinquents, criminals the list goes on, really.

Any fool can tell you mistakes make for better learning. Nobody likes a perfectionist - People who claim they never get it wrong, they piss everyone off. Mistakes and errors make a person more respectable. They are not afraid to say “This is what I am, I'm not proud, but not ashamed either, but I've learned something”. It's admirable. Mistakes are the things that make people perfect.

Pedants, you leave nothing to be admired. I have never learned one worthwhile thing while being corrected by a pedant.

Oh wait, there is one thing.

I dislike pedants.

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