|Copyright RT 2012|
Discussing the use of commas with my work colleague today, as you do, we agreed they were important, or rather, that the absence of one can change the meaning of a sentence completely. Yes, you know that, but we were also discussing the shocking illiteracy displayed by some people on 'the social network'.
......................now, as you may have noticed, I'm not obsessive about 'correct' english......................
When I see the literacy level of some people I feel sorry for them. I do. They must have paid even less attention at school than me. Not that I learnt wot I know about grammer at school. No. I picked it up by osmosis, by reading books. I suppose.
I could always write an essay, though, even if they got bad marks half the time because I was moaning about the books we were forced to study. That's my excuse. The teacher couldn't give a top mark to someone criticising the curriculum, could he? Or some of them were just crap. That's possible. The one that sticks in my memory is a scathing criticism of Jane Eyre because it bored me to tears. How else would a 14-yr-old boy respond? Unless he could appreciate the novel's qualities. In which case, this hypothetical pupil is probably a professional literary critic today. He could be nothing other than hypothetical because such boys didn't exist in my school. Or perhaps they did but I wouldn't have got to know them well enough to learn about their love of Charlotte Brontë because I hung around with idiots who would have burnt books given half the chance.
William Burroughs' Naked Lunch should be taught at schools. Perhaps it is at places run by ex-hippies who allow their pupils the freedom to smoke pot and paint all day. Do those places still exist? Places like this one?
I like to think so. But it was a boarding school. Of course. The state wasn't going to fund it, was it? 'Run by a Cambridge graduate'. Pre-Hippy, since the clip is from 1961. So it was a hippy training camp. On second thoughts, I'm not so keen on it. I don't hold with the Punk slogan 'Kill All Hippies' but, you know...
Where was I before things lead to school............oh yes, the comma and it's usage. Yes. In the image at the top you'll note it's a statement of fact: 'ARTISTS DON'T WORRY ABOUT JOB SECURITY'. I can't recall where I got it from; probably an advert for one of those Art correspondence courses that seem to have been popular at one time. It's assuring potential customers that artists will make a living. Funny, eh? They do, of course, if they get jobs where Art is a good thing to have on your CV. Art studies as a career path, now there's an alien concept to me. I grew up (it's a work in progress) thinking artists were special, a bit mad, wildly imaginative outsiders starving in their hovels. Until they died. And their work sold for millions...or got thrown away by relatives who kept it for a while but, you know, how long do you keep that stuff for?
It could read: 'ARTISTS, DON'T WORRY ABOUT JOB SECURITY', before continuing to clarify why. Such as: 'GET A PROPER JOB. DON'T RELY ON YOUR ART TO EARN YOU MONEY. JUST DO IT AS A HOBBY. MEANWHILE, JOIN OUR INSURANCE BROKER CORRESPONDENCE COURSE AND EARN BIG MONEY OR WE PROMISE TO RETURN YOUR FEE!' Sensible, yes?
I didn't get where I am today by paying attention to career advice at school, that's for sure...