The other day, during a routine AIM chat with one of my 13-year-old campers, I noticed something was amiss – and by “amiss,” I mean, like, totes fucked up.
Now, before you get all hot and bothered, I’ll acknowledge that it’s not fair for me, a pseudo-mature, experienced college student, to pass judgment on a seventh-grader. And, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t. After all, who am I to discourage a young, free-spirited junior high student from worshipping Jesse McCartney? Or watching Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen? Or wearing Limited Too whore boots?
That said, however, I’m compelled to draw the line at aLtErNaTiNg CaPs.
For those of you unfamiliar with the tween-age trend that’s sweepin’ the naysh almost as fast as abbreves – bonus points to everyone who got the Facebook group reference – I’d suggest you log onto your younger sibling’s MySpace account. Or, if you’re not a tool, just ask somebody with “AzN pRyDe” – like my roommate, Weinberg sophomore Toku Sakai.
What you’ll find is that, in spite of their schooling, America’s 12- to 15-year-olds are spearheading a grammatical revolution. Raised among text messages, AIM conversations and Internet blogs, they’ve developed what appears to be a newer, trendier, flashier form of communication.
But, just like Chlamydia, it’s far more dangerous than it looks.
According to The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation – which, I’m told, is way more badass than the MLA – a letter should be capitalized only if it’s at the beginning of a sentence or preceding a proper noun. According to my camper, though, a letter should be capitalized “aNyTiMe I wAnT.” Is it just me, or is this the kind of independent thinking that leads to anarchy? Or worse – terrorism?
After spending the entire summer with this misguided youth, I can’t help but feel partially responsible. Maybe if I hadn’t encouraged my campers to have so much fun – if we’d focused on our studies instead of frolicking in the dodge-ball field – they wouldn’t be butchering the English language. Then again, maybe if they’d been raised right in the first place, they’d already know not to type like tomfools. Zing!
In any case, these renegade tweens must be subdued. Beat them, brand them, burn them at the stake – whatever it takes to uphold the rhetoric upon which our beloved nation was founded. Yes, I know that’s somewhat unconstitutional. And, yeah, we might have to relinquish a couple “inalienable” rights. But I’m pretty sure when our forefathers rallied for free speech, they weren’t anticipating tHiS.
Medill sophomore Dan Macsai is the PLAY editor. He can be reached at [email protected]