Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, June 08, 2007

This is something I have to post...

Hippokrene and Willow have posts up now that burn a little. More than a little actually. It hits hard. It scorches my conscience like anything. Because they're right. They're very right And when it comes down to it, I'm guilty too.

This isn't an easy thing to say.

I am an elitist. Or I was an elitist. Or I hope I was an elitist and am not now, without knowing it. I saw the same post Hippokrene and Willow saw. I thought that it was unfair to snap at someone like that, just because they used a different style. But at the same time, I didn't say anything.

I could have. I have a livejournal account. I could have said "Hey, that's not fair. The shortened words and the slang don't make the reply any less readable. It doesn't make the point less valid."

I didn't say a damn thing.

Because some part of me agreed. Some part of me read the comment and the other many insightful things Ami has written and went "That's a great post/comment, but I wish she'd type it in proper English." I might not have said it, but I thought it.

So I didn't say anything. Someone I respect called out another person I respect in, what I felt was a needlessly harsh way, and I didn't say a damn thing.

That was wrong of me. That was very wrong. For one thing who am *I* to judge someone else's writing when it is usually perfectly understandable and the writer is very willing to clarify if something gets lost along the way. Who am I to judge someone else's affectation? (Hell, it's not like my own writing is any less an affectation in it's own way.) My grammar and spelling are certainly not perfect. My way isn't necessarily better.

Who the hell am I to try to silence someone else, even if only through not speaking up in defense?

I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing by posting this. I don't want to embarrass anyone. I thought about sending a private apology over email, instead. I'm not sure this won't seem like I'm jumping on a bandwagon or something...

But I've jumped on worse bandwagons than defending an intelligent and rational sister-feminist's right to post the way she damn well wants. And I was wrong to not say anything before, so if I'm going to be wrong again, I'd rather be wrong this way.

So Ami, I'm sorry. I didn't defend you when I should have. That wasn't fair. I love your blog and I love what you post. I'm probably not ever going to really love your speech style, but that's my flaw, not yours. And it DOES NOT get in the way of the quality of your posts.

Everyone who likes my blog, go read Ami's if you don't already. She's great. Especially her most recent post about the portrayal of teenage heroes. She says everything I would like to about how damned annoying it is that "realism" is made an issue over "heroism" for teenaged characters. And it's a really awesome post.


  • At June 08, 2007 5:11 AM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…


    That means a lot to me coming from you Kalinara :O

    A lot. :)

    But I understand that ppl dun like my writing. :| I dun think it's your fault or nething for sure XD I have trouble reading very academic writing with lots of complex sentences and stuff, so I understand :)

    Dun feel bad for not defending me or nething. :) I think things have sorted themselves out, and I can see why some ppl might rly be annoyed by my writing style, and I think maybe it was just the straw that broke the camel's back? :o

    I'm not upset about it at any rate :D But I wanted to say I rly appreciated this post (I didn't even see it, a friend showed me and I was like O_O) b/c it means a lot to me b/c I respect you a lot :D

  • At June 08, 2007 5:27 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Aw thanks!

    I'm glad you liked it! I was awfully nervous about posting it. (I'm good at righteous anger and humor but I'm not really good at this sort of...genuine feelings thing. :-))

    I still shoulda said something though. It wasn't fair. I'm glad things have sorted out though!

  • At June 08, 2007 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Argh. Now *I* feel bad too. Good work. ^^

    Admittedly, poor Ami's chatspeak (and Amy Reads and her Victorian style) both drive me up the freaking WALL. I can't read either of them because their chosen styles just make me wanna yank my hair out.

    So when Divalea made her comment, I was like 'FINALLY SOMEONE SAID IT'.

    I'm somewhat unrepentant. I think that you can express your utter screaming mimi-reaction to someone's writing style without chucking the offenders out of the discussion. Other blogs have posting rules and moderation policies. Is this really any different?

    But I'm still ruled by my sheer ARGH-level irritation with the style chosen (note: not the people, since both of them seem to be smart and insightful) by both of these bloggers.

  • At June 08, 2007 7:50 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    Alas, Ami's blog is "friends only," no public perusal allowed.

  • At June 08, 2007 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Honestly, my only complaint about Ami's style? It makes me feel old! ;) I always feel like it's smart enough, so what if it takes a little extra effort for my brain to interpret? No big deal. I also am lost at the derision Amy Reads is facing. I mean, I never had a problem understanding her. I mean, I know she is smarter and more educated than I, but I never felt talked down to by her.

  • At June 08, 2007 9:32 AM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    Admittedly, poor Ami's chatspeak (and Amy Reads and her Victorian style) both drive me up the freaking WALL.

    Really? I find it makes their blogs more fun to read. I've made the comparison before, but to me it's similar to Bully's online persona, or the various ones used by diamondrock.

    Alas, Ami's blog is "friends only," no public perusal allowed.

    No, it's not. Neither of them are. Unless you're talking about a third one?

  • At June 08, 2007 10:07 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    Ami's two blogs are public; her livejournal page is friends-only.

    Do I have that right, Ami?

    And on the real issue at hand -- the first time I was directed to Ami's review site, I have to admit that, thirtysomething fogey that I am, I couldn't read very far into it before the style drove me away. But then I followed another link, to her Super-Cute Rants page, and I knew what she was writing was something I really wanted to read, so I read it. It turned out that her style wasn't nearly as off-putting as I had originally thought -- and I'm a former copy editor, for cryin' out loud! It turns out that immersion really helps with typed dialect and jargon -- just like, after reading about ten pages of A Clockwork Orange, it suddenly becomes second nature what "droogie" and "tolchock" mean.

    Ami, you're my droogie. Keep on keepin' on.

    You too, Kal.

  • At June 08, 2007 11:03 AM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Huh. It's funny. I've always seen that test-message shorthand sort of writing itself as being elitist. Of course, I don't really have a problem with elitism per se, so it doesn't really bother me. Ami's style seems to intentionally alienate a portion of the population and to endear another. I think that's fine. I may not always read her comments (depending on how I gauge my patience for interpretation in the given moment I come across something she says), but her style is her privilege and she's speaking to an audience of whom I was never meant to be a primary member. So that's fine.

    As far as marketing goes, it may or may not be a good bet. It may be that alienating a select segment of her potential readership with a style perceived as elitist/childish maybe serve her interests. Or it may be that she'd enjoy an numbers-explosion in her audience if she would write in a more common tongue. Who knows? And really, who but her should care?

  • At June 08, 2007 11:09 AM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    I dun rly -- er, don't really -- understand why folks can't just live and let live. I've never had any trouble at all understanding Ami. I mean, yeah, her dialect was a tad hard to crack at first, but I come from a background in online gaming, where unorthodox spelling is the rule, not the exception.

    Keep on doing what you do, Ami. You are funny, you're not a chickenhead (whatever that is), and the Interweb is a funner place for your presence.

  • At June 08, 2007 11:49 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Now I have to hang my head in shame and admit that I too, the first time that I read one of Ami's posts, was "what the hell?" Fortunately, I did manage to get past it, and realize that she has witty and interesting posts.

    As for Amy Reads, I have NO problem with her verbiage, because that is the way that I normally speak. It comes from reading far too much Bronte and Austen and Thackeray.

  • At June 08, 2007 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Really? I find it makes their blogs more fun to read. I've made the comparison before, but to me it's similar to Bully's online persona, or the various ones used by diamondrock.

    I'm a bit of a slacker in the comicsphere, so I don't read these people either.

    Considering that Gambit, Nightcrawler, Rogue, etc and their dialect-strewn dialog used to get on my last never too, I think we can safely say that it isn't Ami and Amy, it's ME.

    Chatspeak just sparks this immediate, instinctive irritation in me. It could well be due to subconscious elitism, as Kalinara says. But just.. ARGH all the same.

    I'm sure that if I were to meet either Ami or Amy irl, I'd find them both smart and interesting to talk to. But their writing style just drives me away. And while you could argue that it's their right to present themselves any way they like and I should just stuff it- as they say in design 'message sent is message recieved.'

  • At June 08, 2007 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *last nerve

    Never too early for typos! :D

    (And, actually, if anyone wants to point out that I use smileys and this is irritating as hell- go for it. That would be a cool debate.)

  • At June 08, 2007 2:12 PM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    I'm not irritated by emoticons, but it's a point of pride with me never ever to use them myself. If I can't convey exactly what I want to convey with standard words and punctuation, then I deserve to be misinterpreted!

  • At June 08, 2007 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmm...I admit I was a bit put off at first too (get enough of the netspeak through text messaging...) but I don't see how it even matters. Ami's ideas are incredibly sound and I always enjoy reading what she writes regardless of the language involved.

    If anything, I think Lea Hernandez comes off very bad in this. I don't read manstream so didn't even know about this, but I thought it was incredibly rude of her to basically yell at ami to stop using what is her chosen method of expressing herself. I think more than anything, that itself comes down to censorship.

  • At June 08, 2007 3:14 PM, Blogger tavella said…

    I don't think it's elitist to expect people to use the proper dialect for a situation; it's only elitist when you think yours is morally superior. American standard, academic-speak, chat speak, spanglish, none are inherently superior. You use the correct one for the situation. I'd be rightfully mocked as pretentious for writing in my standard style in a chatspeak environment, and I think less of people like Ami who use chatspeak in an environment where everyone else is using American Standard. It means you can't be bothered to use the full suite of tools that is language.

  • At June 08, 2007 6:00 PM, Blogger Ferrous Buller said…

    Reading one of Ami's posts is a bit like listening to someone with a thick, unfamiliar accent: it can be hard to penetrate at first, but eventually you get the hang of it. Funny thing about accents, though, is that a lot of people leap to conclusions about the speakers based on them - biases often reinforced by the media.

    How often do we hear a big guy with an Eastern European accent and go, "HA HA! He's a big dumb guy, like Arnie!"? Or people with heavy Southern accents: how often are they portrayed as redneck yokels as opposed to, say, doctors or engineers? Listen to Larry the Cable Guy in "Cars" and tell me it isn't immediately obvious he's supposed to be the village idiot - even though he's a tow truck. Likewise, how often is, say, a British accent used to signify a character of high intelligence?

    Same goes for the written word: a lot of us "edjumicated" folks expect smart people to write a certain way (i.e., a lot like us); when someone writes in a vernacular or slang-y way, we tend to look down our snooty noses through our monocles at them, possibly while disdainfully sipping our brandies. "L33t speak" and other forms of Internet-inspired linguistics tend to set off alarms in the heads of those of us who had the principles of good grammar and spelling ground into our skulls over decades of schooling.

    And if Ami were writing essays for an English class in this style, I'd have no qualms about marking her down, because there are formal rules governing essays which she's violating right & left. :-) Fortunately for her, she isn't writing essays, she's writing blogs. And blogs are all about self-expression, including writing in whatever voice or style comes most naturally to you.

    So what's bothersome about Lea's post isn't that she would prefer Ami to write using "good" English; it's that she seems to think the way Ami writes is some sort of cutesy affectation, rather than being her natural voice. "You're smart! Write like smart people! Like us!"

    If people have trouble understanding Ami because of how she writes, that's a communication issue: maybe they'll make the effort to understand her, maybe they won't. But if someone pre-judges what Ami says based on her "accent"...well, I trust we all know what sort of issue that is.

    All of which is my usually circuitous way of saying: Ami, you keep writing what and how you feel like writing. Who's to say the next Tom Sawyer won't be written in l33t speak? :-)

  • At June 08, 2007 8:27 PM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    Hi Rob! :D

    Yus, you have it right XD My 2 comic blogs are public (on blogspot >.>) but my LJ is personal and f-locked. :)

    And Ferrous Buller (I <3 your name btw XD), when I write essays I use proper spelling and grammar :) English is actually my best subject at school XDDDD

    I just like to relax and get away from all that when I'm not doing school stuff :)

  • At June 09, 2007 12:06 AM, Blogger GamerGuy said…

    She has good ideas. They're almost unreadable in places. Some use of abbreviation and slang is certainly expected in a casual and informal environment, but the constant chatroom-like talk is just annoying and clouds up the message she's trying to get across. It distracts, takes the clear and makes it unclear and uncomfortable to read.

  • At June 09, 2007 3:59 AM, Blogger Willow said…

    tavella said:

    You use the correct one for the situation... and I think less of people like Ami who use chatspeak in an environment where everyone else is using American Standard. It means you can't be bothered to use the full suite of tools that is language.

    I use British standard, mostly when I type. Just saying that now. Colour, humour, theatre are all spelled correctly to me.

    That said, what if someone can't switch? Does that make them less intelligent or insightful?

    And who decides what's appropriate language for blogs and comments? I can understand having a blanket rule about, say, not cursing in comments on a particular user's blog. But the affectation of your 'speech'?

    "If I deciding to have conversation wid Kalinara in her journal wid typin' deh dialect of me island, that change how bright I am? Me doan t'ink so.

    It jes be making people judgmental pon deh high horse feh not listening to the truth in me words and instead getting all wuk up over how I says it.

    Ifing you don't want to be hearing me mouth feel free to pass me over. But to be telling me how to talk me mouth - you ain't me muddah."

    I'm just saying.

    Personal likes and dislikes are personal. But looking down one's nose at someone who's thinking and trying to interact can stifle them. And in a movement that's all about being heard - I think it's the wrong message to send.

    Also hey there Kalinara *waves*

  • At June 10, 2007 6:07 AM, Blogger Marc Burkhardt said…

    I'm even older than some of you old fogies, and it definitely takes effort on my part to decipher Ami's style.

    That said, I find her posts are always worth the effort and I've also welcomed the comments she's left on my blog.

    It's an individual style, true, but ultimately her writing is distinctive and thoughtful. That's all that counts for me at the end of the day.

  • At June 10, 2007 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Coming from someone who's never actually read the blog in question; that style annoys me just because it seems kinda useless. For instance, using "BRB" makes sense, because it compresses a commonly-used eleven-letter-plus-two-spaces phrase into three letters. But, let's say, "anything" has eight letters. "nething" has seven letters.'s an almost-nonexistent savings in effort on the writer's side. Same for "dun" for "don't". It just feels artificial.

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