Monday, December 29, 2003

Another "major storm" has hit the Bay Area. That means it's raining continuously, to all potential readers in other parts of the country where the weather is usually way worse. I'm only upset about this because I can't go on my daily lunchtime walk and the traffic on the bridge going home in a few hours will be heavy, due to some retard who will get into a fender bender because he doesn't know how to drive in the rain. Instant moron, just add water. That is my motto for California drivers.

The rain is only a real problem for people stupid enough to build houses on the side of a steep hill. There are mudslides to contend with in these conditions. And during the summer and fall months? Fires. Then of course there are earthquakes. For those of us who live in cities like SF or Oakland and don't venture up into the hills, the rain only serves as a cleaning agent to wash away the piss on the sidewalks.

I'm about halfway through a book I bought on my XMas shopping day: The Story of English, by Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran. I'm not much of a fiction or literature reader these days, it's mostly non-fiction like biographies or historical subjects. This book basically tells the whole story, from Old English through all of its mutations to the present day. I like the approach it takes: language is not immovable.

The book was mainly written in the eighties, before the maturation of hip-hop into a mainstream art form, but I would use the arguments in this book to argue that someone like Eminem is also good for the language, and that hip hop is the new poetry. The subject matter is often shallow (how many different ways can you write about bling bling and how much money you make?), but as form it is pretty sophisticated.

When I was younger, I thought to myself that my generation would be different, that I would not feel a "generation gap" with kids when I got older. I was wrong, of course. Now I fully expect my kids to be into things that I find foul, disgusting and of no value. I just don't quite know what that will be yet. But I have a feeling that whatever it is will make Eminem in his more graphic lyrical moments look like an old mother hen.

And with the aid of this book, I realize all of this is okay because it is the law of things. Look no further than comparing old english to middle english to modern english and you will wonder how we got there. It was all a part of conquest and assimilation, of course. Nowadays, that conquest is somewhat bloodless, but it is still a battle. I wonder how archaic what I am writing will look in about twenty years? I guess that's partly why I write.

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