The Language of Finn and Jake

Maybe it’s a sign of age (I’m writing this on my birthday, which brings me another year closer to old), but as a writer I’m getting a bit peeved at these young whippersnappers who are dismantling the English language with their inane quest to coolify words by shortening them.

Words like naturally, totally, whatever, ridiculous, problem, details and sorry are simple words with just a few syllables. But apparently a few too many, as these words are lazily butchered into natch, totes, whatevs, redix, probs, deets and sars. It’s not cool.

My kids are fans of the cartoon Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. It’s a smart show. The writing is clever, funny, juvenile and grownup. Consider a few quotes:

“Imagination is for turbo-nerds who can’t handle how kick-butt reality is!”

“A 4-dimensional bubble casts a 3-dimensional shadow! It is beyond comprehension! Beyond space! Beyond time!”

Good stuff. But between all that wonderful writing is an inordinate amount of natches, totes, whatevs et al.

Maybe the writers are being ironic or subversive. If they are, it’s lost on my eight-year-old. The other morning I asked if she wanted a waffle for breakfast. She said, “Natch.” I burned her waffle and said, “Sars.” My wife told me to pick my battles. Well I’m picking this one.

I’m fine with texting shorthand. It’s useful. With my fat fingers and a two-millimeter wide key, I need to greatly minimize keystrokes. WTF, when it comes to speaking, I will not stand for shorthand. It’s lazy and uncool.

Who out there is with me? Let’s take up arms and burn the waffles of those guilty of tearing down our native tongue one syllable at a time! That’ll show ‘em.