Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grammar gets under my skin

I was listening to Katy Perr'y "I Kissed a Girl" for the eleventy billionth time, when the line, right smack dab in the middle of the song, blares out, "Us girls, we are so magical..."
Us girls?  Really?  The song lost a little of its sparkle for me.  No, seriously.  The bad grammar bothered me that much.

Fine, I'll admit it. I am a grammar snob. I love long walks on the beach, caramel appletinis and proper punctuation. My text messages frequently hit the character max thanks to appropriately inserted commas and apostrophes. After all, using a cell phone is no reason to leave a subordinate clause hanging.
My studies as an English major have only exacerbated my affliction, and it has become impossible for me not to hear the glaring lyrical errors embedded in even the catchiest tune. Now, I appreciate the fact that every note and lyric must be crafted exclusively to fit a given song. I also realize that my best friend's older brother would never have blasted "If you are having girl problems, I feel badly for you, son. I have 99 problems, but a woman is not one of them" out of his convertible in 2000. However, there is a fine line between poetic license and sloppiness; it is the difference between Something Corporate's "If U C Jordan," which delivers an artistic (if crass) message, and the Pussycat Dolls' alphabetical disaster, "Stickwitu." 
I could always picture my eighth grade English teacher shuddering at 702's single "Where My Girls At," which hit the airwaves around the same time. She (who made us memorize every preposition! "In, on, into, over, under, to, at, by, for…") would have demanded that the pesky little "at" get off the end of the phrase and convert to its rightful "are" in the process. Rival-band TLC didn't do much better. "I don't want no scrubs" is essentially an invitation to bring 'em on, thanks to a double-negative. 
Gwen Stefani delivered a serious blow to the subjunctive when she feminized "Fiddler on the Roof's" once A+ song and sang, "If I was a rich girl" (No doubt she took her lead from "What If God Was One of Us"). Oh, Gwen, you was wrong. 
I've been waiting for someone to fall into the apostrophe trap, and R. Kelly is my man. "Playa's only" … the playa's only what? 
While I'm sure that middle-school girls everywhere got wind of Kelis' proclaimed possession of the best milkshake, have they figured out that they can't like, use "like" as a substitute for like, "said"? 
The Backstreet Boys question subject/verb agreement in "All I Have to Give" when they implore, "Does his gifts come from the heart?" and "Does his friends get all your time?" I don't know. Does they? 
Fergie abandons noun/pronoun agreement altogether as one child magically multiplies: "And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket," but she's gotta get a move on to inserting an extra "e" in "T, to the A, to the S-T-E-Y/Girl you tastey." Now spell check can correct that for all eternity, but at least Gwen taught everyone how to spell "bananas." 
My favorite grammar gaff might be when the normally grammar-conscious Justin Timberlake uses the line, "When you cheated, girl/My heart bleeded, girl" in "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around." Needed? Defeated? So many other fish in the sea, JT. 
Yet the rhyme scheme trophy goes to R. Kelly for his hip hopera, Trapped in the Closet: "Then he opens the dresser (dresser)/He looks at the closet (closet)/I pull out my Beretta (Beretta)/He walks up to the closet (closet)/He comes up to the closet (closet)/Now he's at the closet (closet)/Now he's opening the closet..." Why bother to rhyme the word when you can just repeat the original? Had R. Kelly employed this simple technique throughout, we'd have been spared the Bridgets and midgets. 
In "Make it Rain," R. Kelly spotlights with, "See I order one bottle/Then I f*ck with one model/Then I order more bottles/Now I got more models." I'll give Kells a break here and let his use of "got" slide since he's done such a good job keeping track of his plurality of models/bottles and has followed such a sensible turn of logic. 
In the end, I understand that what is being said is much more important than how it is delivered. And the fact is, even the most poorly written lyrics still read better than a good portion of chem. majors' papers. I understand the Grammar War is an uphill battle; yet even underneath layers of music, my ear will always recoil from the piercing battle cry, "We don't need no education!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Words to live by

Thanks, Oprah.  Words to live by. Several of my friends could take heart in this right now. 

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.

Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior.

If you have ANY doubt in your mind about a man's character, leave him alone.

Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.

Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that's not meant to be. .

Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.

If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no you can't "be friends." A friend wouldn't mistreat a friend.

Have faith in God/Goddess/Great Spirit/The Universe regarding your relationship, but don't let faith make you stupid. God/Goddess/Great Spirit/The Universe does things decent and in order.

Don't settle.

Don't stay because you think "it will get better." You'll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.

The only person you can control in a relationship is you.

There's only one 'reason' a man dumps you; he doesn't want you.

Always put yourself and your happiness first.

Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up.

Like from the show Sex and the City, if he doesn't call, he just isn't that interested.

Know when to cut the cord, don't be strung along

Don't fall for the "I'm confused role". Remove yourself from the situation to let him figure things out (but don't wait for him, move on).

If you want to have a clue as to how he will treat you, watch how he treats the WOMEN in his family (not just mom).

Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more nothing less.

Actions speak louder than words.

Never let a man define who you are.

If he cheated with you, he'll cheat on you.

Just because he says he loves you, doesn't mean that he won't hurt you and it doesn't mean that you are meant to be with him.

Know that you deserve to be the number one person in the life of the 1 person in your life.

Love is a verb.

Learn to give up your lifelong task of trying to make someone unavailable-available, someone ungiving-giving, and someone unloving-loving.
A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you.

If you don't love can't love anyone else.

You cannot mend someone else's broken heart

You need time to heal between relationships...there is nothing cute about with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.

You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you...a relationship consists of two WHOLE individuals...look for someone complimentary...not supplementary..

NEVER give more in a relationship than you are getting out of it.

When actions and words conflict, believe the actions. Respond to the actions.

Don't fall for the "I'm not the loving type"...when a man loves you there is nothing in this world (within reason) that he wouldn't do for you.

Make him miss you sometimes...when a man always know where you are, and you're always readily available to him he takes it for granted..

When it's time to let go; let go.

Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything that you need. Keep him in your radar but get to know others.

Never believe a man that tells you he want to be with you, while he's with someone else, - if he wanted to be with you, he would make it happen more sooner than later.

Don't be a man's door mat , make him open the door for you, because a real man would do this on his own.

There is someone out there worthy to be in your life, let out the trash so he can come in.