Monday, July 19, 2004

the grammar of LA

So watching the news last night and the progression of our latest fires, it occurred to me that before I lived in LA I never called trees and brush (that is, vegetation) "fuel."
There is a particular grammar to LA. On the east coast or in the midwest, "smog" and "valet" are not verbs—as in "Are you going to valet your car?" or "I need to get my car smogged."
Before I moved here, one of my friends summed up the east coast/west coast cultural differences by saying that on the east coast they say "man" and on the west coast they say "dude." Since I have been here, I have developed a theory that American English is in the process of becoming a tonal language like Chinese. Two California teenagers can hold a 20 minute conversation in which the word "dude" stands in for about 50 other words depending on inflection and facial expression. "So he was like duuuude. And I was like DUDE!" 
All of which, to me, is positively charming compared to the latest from our Governor. "Girlie men"?! For god's sake. And the best that Nuñez can offer is "Certainly my mom and my sister aren't happy"?
On an unrelated note (except in that we are talking about grotesque politicians), check out this piece  on Bush. It's not new (from May) but is very well written—and by a conservative no less. I particularly like this bit:
"The cynical game these shape-shifters have been playing in the Middle East is too Byzantine to unravel in 1,000 pages of text. But the hypocrisy of the White House is palpable, and beggars belief. If there's one American who actually believes that Operation Iraqi Freedom was about democracy for the poor Iraqis, then you, my friend, are too dangerously stupid to be allowed near a voting booth."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dude!