I will have much more to say about John Simon’s book Paradigms Lost under the category Mavens…. I found the book at my friend’s house in Eureka and borrowed it. It is truly a treasure trove of prescriptivist nonsense. However, today I would like to focus on Simon as an example of the way the elite pull the wool over the eyes of people they truly despise and this falls within the realm of politics.
As I’ve written before, a wonderful moment occurred many years ago on the Dick Cavett show where Simon and Joey Dillard, a linguist specializing in American English, discussed the notion of correct grammar. At one point where they were discussing the I~me, he~him distinctions, Simon stood up, as I recall, and announced that he was not talking about people so stupid that they did not know the difference between the nominative and accusative cases. Clearly, he was talking about 97.5% of Republicans. Even if they had taken a case language in school (Latin, Greek, German, Russian), they probably only vaguely recalled the word “case” and even when studying the cases, did not understand it.
Simon and others appeal to this Great Unwashed for their votes in order to further their agenda, an agenda which emphasizes the privileges of the upper classes. Simon was a theater critic and therefore depended on the largesse of wealthy donors to maintain both the subject of his criticism and probably the forum in which he wrote. We must not forget how many sycophants need not be wealthy themselves to support what my lefty friends would call the ruling class.
By appealing to the average person on the basis of how liberals have gutted the educational system and dumbed down learning in the interests of a spurious equality of outcome, the elitists cajole the Great Unwashed like you and me to see themselves as part of the movement to “restore” our former greatness and brilliance, submerged now in a sea of mediocrity characterized by persons of color now occupying places they never occupied before thus the cry, “I want my country back”. Once in a while, the elitists slip, as Simon did, and reveal their true attitudes, as did Romney in his notorious 47% remark (he was being generous he probably would, speaking honestly, put it at 87%). Any of the Great Unwashed listening that night might have said to himself, “Huh?” Gee, I don’t know the difference between the ……. what and the what? What the hell is he talking about? And he says I am stupid for not knowing? Well, f him and the horse he rode in on.”
But, no. Our Republican will not do that. Not even if he receives social security or some other government retirement check for which he worked his whole life. He is too dependent on the elitists to save him from the homosexual agenda, the war on Christmas, the immigrants, and most of all those big Black bucks coming for his daughters. Keep looking to heaven, Republicans, b/c only God can save you from these rapacious bastards. Oh, and BTW, they will also turn you over to the homosexuals, the atheists, the immigrants and the bucks if it means adding one more point into their portfolio.