Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mangled English

Part 1 of a Potentially Infinite Series
“You don’t want to be a draft pick that should have did something but never did nothing.”
John Wall, University of Kentucky basketball player

While we admire John Wall’s apparent dedication to living up to his lofty status as the first overall pick in 2010’s NBA draft, it bothers us a bit that one of the somethings that he clearly should have did was to pay better attention during English class—especially the parts that dealt with verb agreement and double negatives.

It bothers us more, though, that if John Wall has even a middling NBA career—and from what we’ve read, he’ll probably be a star—his fifteen to twenty years’ worth of newspaper quotes, postgame radio and TV interviews, and locker-room or mid-game Twitter postings1 will likely allow him to have more of an impact on American English than all his dedicated, learned, and heartbroken English teachers (past, present, and future) put together.


We don’t follow college or professional basketball, so for all we know, Wall is a bright, erudite young man who’s merely gotten off to a rough start as an interviewee. We suppose it’s better to be optimistic than to wonder if  perhaps Wall’s never doing nothing is the best we can hope for.

1. We realize that Twitter postings are generally referred to as “tweets,” but for the time being, we’re going to refuse to use that word. First of all, it’s a stupid word regardless of context—stupider even than “cuddle.” Second, Twitter may well be the most pointless and narcissistic activity in the history of the human race—even more so than blogging, although the competition is closer than we care to admit—and we don’t want to show it any inadvertent support by adopting its silly vocabulary.

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