Stephen Fahey: Grammar Nazis

Although our world is a beautiful and advanced community of strange diversity, improvement is always sought. With leaders and clerics as corruptible as any other human, the constant search for an incorruptible overseer is never far from our hearts. We have tried the sword and the coin, and holy books, but we are yet to utilise that one, incorruptible creature: The Grammar Nazi. While any initial power given to such an individual must be bridled, for the sake of sense and sanity, there is a great hope in the Grammar Nazi that we have long overlooked. Yes, adjustment would be protracted and, frankly, excruciating. But the are many potential benefits to such leaders.

For one, their ideology is self-perpetuating. Thus they cannot be corrupted, because the rules are the rules. And the rules must be obeyed. At all times. In the correct fashion. On time. And without delay. Should theirs become the global standard the first against the wall would be the economists, because, little known fact: Economists make lousy linguists. It’s true. Next would be the teenagers, all of them – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With their vulgarity, their reprehensibly baggy attire, their disgusting youth and their pungent abundance of poor grammar, they make ideal candidates. Not to mention the benefits of a good old fashioned cull. It would raise the retirement age for one generation but who wouldn’t be willing to make that sacrifice when world peace is on the table.

Once the many impure hordes of economists, accountants, teenagers, telesales and customer service agents, lawyers, airline pilots, half-deaf uncles, car salesmen, little old ladies and the invariable vegan masses (because if we’re rounding up patsies it would be a waste to not fix the vegan situation while we’re at it) are taken care of, a new breed of politicians would rise. While their tiny moustaches might be questionable, especially their womenfolk, a system of non-arbitrary function would form. There would be no confusion about the correct manner in which to assemble a piece of flat-packed furniture. There would be no intentional obfuscation of language to wade through in the courts. There would be no small print or warnings on peanut packets that say “may contain nuts”. We would also mange to slip free from idol small talk at cocktail parties. The world would be a machine so well oiled and so poor, because all the economists will have been killed off, that with the singular exception of infants and toddlers, who better watch their backs if they know what’s good for them, peace might actually have a chance to reign.

Grammar Prison, a desolate, endless classroom scenario wherein inmates must perfect their syntax, punctuation, tenses and, above all, spelling, would carry so much gravity that there is little cause to think there would be any crime at all. However, in such an orderly and crime free authoritarian paradise ruled by tyrannical absolutists, sadly, spousal arguments would reach dizzying heights, but at least the silent treatment would be expunged once and for all.

But aside from a meat-based diet in a society filled with little red dictionaries and a Scrabble board on every coffee table, free from accountants who love nothing more than to interfere with our daily lives through their uppity numerical gibberish, through the eradication of textspeak, mumbojumbo, overuse of the word “like”, incomprehensible slang, misspelled names on important documentation and that most heinous of all crimes, mobile phone interference, the world ahead could be bright. There could be a place for Grammar Nazis and their wiles after all, if only they’re willing.

Stephen Fahey

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