I like to imagine that a thesaurus is a really pretentious type of dinosaur. He’s always looking down his nose at me for overusing commonplace words that readily come to my mind. But honestly I can’t blame him. In a culture where the English language is being destroyed by text-speak and social networking sites, coherent word and sentence structure stands little chance. I consider myself much more of a storyteller than technical writer, but even I too might be slowly turning into a pretentious literary dinosaur myself… I even lost my respect for the Oxford linguists when the word ‘bootylicious’ made it into the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2008. That was to be followed by them naming ‘refudiate’ best new word in 2010. Maybe I should look into getting a job alongside those linguists, because it seems like they might need my help. Am I old before my time? Am I sitting on my front porch shaking my fist in the air, yelling “You darn acronyms get off my lawn”? … Maybe; I’m only moderately old, but if I’ve learned anything from getting older, it’s that though you may be upset with the way things are now, you will likely cherish them in the future when things get even worse.
I think if I had to pick a moral of the story, I may say that if you want to be a writer, take a little pride in your craft … do it for the Thesaurus Rex, that most pretentious of dinosaurs, who will always think your writing is crap anyway, no matter how good it really is. At least you can hold your head high despite his criticism and give him the finger. And if you’re not an aspiring writer… please just try not to completely destroy what’s left of the English language.
William j Barry