For a variety of reasons, Darleen and I cannot get either the local paper or a national paper delivered to our isolated place, so the bulk of our news, local, national, and international, comes to us by way of television or online. As a result, I have now come to the conclusion that the English language is rapidly going the way of ancient Aramaic. The abuses of what P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster once described as, “…the richest and most varied language the world has ever known, crammed full from end to end with red hot adjectives…” are appalling. Subject-verb agreement, for example, has vanished, and there’s lots of examples I could give you. When did “troop” become synonymous with soldier? Today’s online New York Times, informs me that six US troops were killed in a blast in Afghanistan. My sorrow at the loss of life is mitigated by confusion because the Grey Lady’s headline doesn’t tell me how many soldiers were killed.
I have decided, in a fit of despair, to chronicle this decline, randomly, as I catch it, and I shall begin with the NBC affiliate out of Bakersfield, California. The caption at the bottom of the screen, backing up an otherwise perfectly acceptable spoken narrative, informed me that someone somewhere had had a really good view of the “Urora Borealis.” Since I have never seen or even heard of the urora borealis, I am wild with jalousie. A few minutes later, the caption informed me that children raised with pets are “more healthier” than children raised without pets. As a pet owner, I am certainly more happier to hear that, but something about it makes me more sadder, too.