Date: Tue, 7 Jun 1994 08:27:42 EDT
From: Wayne Glowka wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Re: Words of the Year
Allan wanted to know why literary types were so fussy. No answer here,
but another example: when I first taught fresh comp at Millikin U, I hd
a young colleague who was a poet by vocation, hung out with James Merrill.
This guy would scream about the corrupt use of language. "I hate my
students," he would say.
They are fussy because they are ignorant of anything but their own
intuitive language processes. They believe that a ten-page grammar of
English is adequate for all purposes and claim that such a grammar is
beyond their students--a projection of their own limitations. They cannot
imagine that someone might actually want a degree in English LANGUAGE. They
also suffer from acute classism: they abjure a life that requires them to
instruct the unwashed. Flawed themselves, they spend their time picking out
what they see as flaws in others. When one of them is ranting about the
inability of a student to write "without grammar," ask how it is that
favorite books such as _Huckleberry Finn_ and _The Color Purple_ are great
works of art written in dialect. The ensuing embarrassment is wonderful.
These people cannot tell you that they prefer Johnson's fiction because of
its cultured prose. They've never read Johnson's admission on the futility
of language control. They drive me crazy.
Professor of English
Milledgeville, GA 31061
wglowka[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]mail.gac.peachnet.edu