Getting What's Coming to Me
I usually listen to Q100's The Bert Show on my way to work in the mornings. More than half the time, the Bert Show blows, being a cross between a Jerry Lewis telethon and the Jerry Springer show, with the very worst of The View thrown in. Other times, however, it's like one of those rare and beautiful AA meetings where they actually have Splenda for the coffee and the stories rival Faulkner. During these other times, I can endure Melissa's freaky cackling over Jeff's stale fart jokes, Bert's self-aggrandizing over his good deeds, and Jenn's bawling because her friends with children don't properly appreciate her professional status. Why? Because the man who agreed to take the heat for his neighbor who was surfing midget porn makes it worth my suffering.
Regardless of the content, though, one thing is always the same. The hosts of the show butcher American English, screwing the most fundamental rules of grammar, using words that don't exist, and exhibiting all the command of a high school cheerleader with a reading tutor. And I'm not talking about the abysmal "conversate," which some argue for as colloquial. Think concoctions like "comfortability." Then heap every possible permutation of "get my blank on": Get my drink on, get my party on, get my tan on, get my smooth on, get my sex on...These folks are in their mid-thirties, mind you, and they still use "like" every other word and refer to each other as "dude," bad habits I try hard to ignore for the pleasure of hearing the caller who plans to crash the quinceanera of the teen her husband is seeing on the side.
Yesterday, though, I guess the lackluster interview with Andrew Morton wasn't satisfying enough to make it worth overlooking the show's faults. I snapped. What can I say? I rushed off an email to Jenn Hobby--a rant, if you will, that made her none too happy. Her heartfelt response has inspired me to take pause. In the service of full disclosure, I thought I should share our correspondence:
Subject: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 11:56:28 AM EST
Since Q100 is about to reach even more listeners, you might consider a little grammar refresher course. This morning, for instance, you said, "Melissa and I's interview with ...."
and you referred to the Tom Cruise biography as a "novel" during the interview itself. You do that me/I thing all the time, by the way--all of you, and it's extremely annoying.
It should have been Melissa's and my interview...Or if that's too complicated, try simply OUR interview.
Here's a tip: Mom took Melissa and ME to the store. (Mom took Melissa to the store. Mom took me to the store. Mom did not take I to the store.)
However, Melissa and I are going to the store. (Melissa is going to the store. I am going to the store. Me ain't going to the store.)
I love reality TV and listening to radio shows like yours to hear about the ridiculous situations people get themselves into. It's fun and entertaining. Your listeners/callers are really the stars of the show. I'm not some cerebral smarty-pants, in other words. But you guys, taking the lead, should do your best not to make the South look like a bunch of idiots lacking in basic language skills.
Subject: Re: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 9:35:49 PM EST
I would be happy to accept your criticism, if it didn't come with so much condescension. I was nervous in the hosting role today and was doing my best. If I mixed up my words and it irritated you, I apologize and will certainly try to improve. I would, however, challenge you to remember your own short comings before you click send on such a mean-spirited message in the future. You are sitting upon quite an ugly high horse. The view from up there must be blurring your memory of manners and common courtesy.
Subject: Re: Raising the Bar
Date: January 17, 2008 10:31:47 PM EST
I'll give that some thought and try to work on my manners. But shortcomings is one word.