Words, the fuzziness of words, and sugarless strawberry pie

Had some interesting conversation this evening, courtesy of an old friend (Mike Pilato of the Autumn War band days in Chicago and more recent remote composing collaboration for the soundtrack of The Fellows Hip film) and my irrepressible parents around the dinner table. The conversation wandered its way onto the topic of the current younger generation and the resilience of words.

I wonder if words are losing their importance for the younger generations, wired to their texts and tweets and the all-important speed of communication. They seem to be always waiting, nerves on edge, for that next bit or byte of communication. That next string of almost nonsensical abbreviations and shorthand that decipher into whatever is the English equivalent of “jst 8 a ckee! im so ft! lol”.

Does the modern speed of communication mean that meaning itself is really not that relevant anymore, that words are fuzzy and negotiable and, to be honest, secondary or tertiary to the act of communication (non-communciation, really) itself?

True, you have one million friends floating around out there in the winking brightness of cyberspace, but what exactly are you all saying to each other? Perhaps a modernized version of “hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?”

One of several ramifications of this, a ramification that I don’t like thinking about, is what this does to young readers and their opinions and tastes and thoughts and habits in books. Do they read Treasure Island or do they want the snappy new book full of those odd abbreviations (that an old codger like me can’t understand) and abbreviated etcetera?

When did I get so old?

At any rate, the dinner tonight ended with an experimental sugarless strawberry pie. As I am currently banned from eating such things, I did not partake. However, it apparently passed muster. Ripe strawberries, after all, do have quite a lot of sugar in them. Thankfully, for everyone of any age, you don’t need words to experience that sort of truth.

6 thoughts on “Words, the fuzziness of words, and sugarless strawberry pie”

  1. Have you seen “It’s a Book”? If you haven’t, it’s, of course, a book, but you can preview it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YvMFLf0K3k. Especially pertinent to your post here is Jackass’s translation of a page of “Treasure Island” into netspeak (“LJS: rrrr! k? LOL! JIM: 🙁 ! :)”). Fortunately for Jackass, and for us, “It’s a Book” ends very happily with his learning to appreciate a book on its own merits. There is yet hope for the cyber generation.

    1. Hope springs eternal. Thank God. The pendulum does tend to swing back, doesn’t it? Off to check out the book…

      That’s very cute. I’ve never seen those before. Lovely art and perfect music.

  2. I just read a Facebook posting (OMG, yes! I am now on F’ing FB) from a mother who wrote, “I’m glad ‘Susie’ is home from college for the weekend. We miss her.” That was followed by a reply on FB from ‘Susie’, “It’s good to be home.” They’re in the same freakin’ house and they’re communicating on FB.


    1. Heh… the freaky thing is that sort of thing is ridiculously commonplace. We’re all turning into cultural cannon fodder.

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