The Complaint Department

The Complaint Department

studdard-james
James Studdard is an attorney/philologist, and like, he has preached, if asked to. He may be reached for comment, if necessary, at, like, studlaw2000@yahoo.com.

There is a palpable dumbing down of America. I see this in all areas and strata of our society. Proper English, as a means of communication, has been under assault since the late 90’s. Yo, listen up. Even in forums, like say, the judicial system where you would expect lawyers and judges would, at the least, strive to set an example of proper English by demonstrating its proper usage. Example: A man is in Court charged with a crime. Present is the Judge, Prosecutor, and Defense Counsel.
Here is the way it should proceed:
JUDGE: Mr. Doe, you are charged with Burglary. How do you plead?
COUNSEL: My client pleads not guilty, your honor.
JUDGE: What is the State’s announcement?

Now, here is the new, cool and grammatically repulsive version of the same scene.
JUDGE: Mr. Doe you are charged with Burglary. What say you?
COUNSEL: My client pleads not guilty, your honor.
JUDGE: (To the Prosecutor) What say the state?
What the hell does that mean, ‘what say’?

Here is an example of the accused explaining why he did not commit a burglary.
JUDGE (to Counsel): What say your client?
COUNSEL: He wishes to make a statement, Judge.
CLIENT: Yo, like, I was in my crib, like, watching the Masters. I was, like, hoping to see Tiger when my homey hits me up. The dude says he got two tickets for the Hawks game, and like, did I want to go. I’m like down with that, so I meet the dude at the game which like, was going down at the same time as this burglary. I ain’t , like, getting behind no burglary. I was at the Hawks game. My homey could, like, tell you this, but he, like, caught some charges up in Ohio, somewhere.

If you doubt this kind of jive language is used daily in the Courts by bench, bar, and others, simply visit one near you and listen.

The Social Media: I simply cringe at the use of made up words to describe a thing or an event, simply because it sounds cool and all the cool people use it. Example: Hashtag. Gag me if I hear Hashtag one more time after this one last time. Hashtag is a symbol (#) inserted in a communication that indicates the subject. It has no relevance to the spoken word.
Examples of misuse:  Hashtag, North Korea. Hashtag, ICBM, Hashtag, the President’s underwear, Hashtag, Melania’s prayer. Hashtag, my derriere.
Some think that it is alright to end a sentence with a proposition. If you think the same, tell me what planet you are from? Where are you presently at?  What are you striving for? Give it up. Do I make a point?

Changing nouns into verbs. This one makes me physically ill. Here is one example. “Mr. Doe as part of your community service, the Judge, is tasking you to polish the courthouse statue.” Back in the day when Star Trek was popular, I had to sit through the grammatically incorrect split infinitive opening to the show in every episode, “To boldly go where no man, etc.” I hoped against hope that one day Spock would grab the show’s producer by the throat and yell ten times, “To go boldly, to go boldly, to go boldly!” Alas, it never happened.

Bill O’Reilly, the esteemed author and Harvard graduate is most likely being canned by Fox for his repeated use of the phrase, “what say you” or maybe it’s because of his scatological behavior when around a skirt.