Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beyond peevology: Word Court hits bottom

Wow. As noted last week here, Barabara Wallraff of Word Court promised to publish complaints from restaurant servers about the language of their customers, after running a column of customers griping about those who serve them. Here's how she starts:
Anonymous, of Oakland, Mich., writes: "If ever there was a more useless mundan (sic) what you call a job telling people that have no lives and are probably as boring a person as you are, you nut case kook."

Dear Readers: Such is the level of eloquence and clarity of my critics.
Everybody who writes for a public audience gets incoherent, stupid mail. That's hardly the measure of one's 'critics'. As this blog has pointed out, Wallraff doesn't really know much about language, how it works, how it evolved, etc. But she does know how to use a spell checker and bitch about those who don't.

Some servers apparently complained about the letters from last week, which triggers this response from "the judge":
I don't get that. Isn't the customer "always right"?
Depends on whether you're the boss or the worker, and Wallraff certainly wants servers in their place. Then, another letter gets at the heart of the matter:
What do you really expect from a server who makes $2.65 an hour?
Whatever the customer wants. As Rosina-Lippi Green said in an early comment on this blog (here), it's not worth taking on folks like this self-appointed judge because they "prefer make-believe to reality". That's seems to be clearly true. But do they have to be so petty about it?

Really, I have to ask Mrs. Verb (not her real name) to keep me away from peevology of all stripes. I just love language, how it's so richly structured, how it's used and learned, how it varies and changes. That's why I'm in this biz. Maybe the beauty of the label peevologist is that makes explicit why these folks aren't worth much of our time ...

No comments: