The new issue of our dearest Mother Magazine, The Blue and White, is out on campus now! Find it in the Lerner racks, Butler, Hamilton, or in your dorm’s lounge! To celebrate, we’re posting this month’s ATSL from staff writer Virginia Fu, CC ’17, and senior editor Naomi Sharp, CC ’15, searching for the answer to Bwog’s favorite question: Do you abbrev?
Affirmative by Virginia Fu, CC ’17
Yes, I abbreviate! So wut?
Not only is abbreviating something I do and something I think I am totally definitely allowed 2 do, it is something that people already always do anyway and should do, everybody, in this modern age, the age in which we live, which is the second decade of the twenty-first century. Because some words are long, with many letters, some or most or all of which are usually redundant or un-ness. I’m talking about words like “prescriptivist,” “fascist,” and “oppression.”
Or else they sound like or have parts that sound like the names of letters or #s. Odd words, like “are” or “tulip.”
In the modern age, the twenty-first century, “ily” is a goddamn perfectly acceptable way 2 convey 2 u the feeling i got walking down Broadway that morning when the blinking red light made me think of that red scarf u always wear, and the smell of the *bcks made me think of ur disdain for effcnt systems of allocating desirable goods, and the regular occurrence of lines on the sidewalk made me think of the biweekly emails u send me, and, stopping 2 fumble out my phone, i tripped over my shoes, abbreviating the feeling, like my text was an abbreviation of that feeling, which needed to be abbreviated because it was like a word 2 weird and impossible 2 spell, like “axolotl.”
And aren’t we always abbreviating something when we try 2 say the things in our heads 2 people? Isn’t all communication a distillation of amorphous infinitudes into this patter of sounds, shapes, gestures that make language?
So I don’t understand why you act like something gets lost or hurt when I abbreve. Abbreving is abt getting to the heart of things. It’s abt knowing what to keep. Like, the first letters of words are important. Most consonants. Amper-sands. The red properties in Monopoly. Your well-worn copy of the Iliad. Your grandmother’s last words to the Starbucks barista. Your belief in the Omicron. Nothing gets lost if you know when to stop.
In the robot future our thought paths will mrge instantaneously, like a microwave that comes from nowhere and everywhere and xplodes the quantum popcorn in our heads but not the quantum popcorn in other pple’s heads. Except in the robot future we won’t have heads because we won’t need them anymore. There will also be no bodies or language but everything will be slghtly magnetized.
And I don’t understand what you mean when you tell me I shouldn’t abbreviate things because i am destroying the English language as if the language were fragile and liable 2 be damaged when its consonants were all mushed together, like when the veggies all exploded in the microwave. But words are more like animals, the kind that can’t be squished, things that grow and blink and change into other, better things, like how food turns into compact, concise poop.
The quick way isn’t always the wrong way! The words get shortr as the feeling gets bigger!
Abbreviation is progress. It’s educational, moral, necessary, and gr8.
Negative by Naomi Sharp, CC ’15
Notice how I used two words there. It’s to show that I’m thinking of you.
You know—really thinking of you. Not sort of thinking of you while also thinking about my Starbucks order, which I know is what you were doing when you texted me “ily” this morning.
I’m now trying to think of a nonviolent way to convey to you the feeling I got walking up Amsterdam, when I saw that text and realized with blinding rage that your attention span had reached its maximum five-second capacity, and that your feelings for me were now on par with your interest in a gingerbread latte.
When I realized that you have the emotional capacity of a hamster.
When I realized that eight letters and a mutually respectful relationship are too much for you.
My phone buzzed again.
You were only making things worse. You couldn’t even give it a nose? That’s sick. You’re sick.
When I got home, I started thinking. As I set the oven to 450 degrees and placed your phone inside it, I thought of all the things I detest about you (please find an alphabetized list in section 8.1 of the note I left on your pillow). And I concluded, as an acrid burning smell began to fill the house, that what I detest most isn’t your atrocious spelling or even your abbreviations or your general laziness. It’s that you’re completely blind to what you’re doing wrong.
If you’re ily-ing me after a year and a half together, how will you communicate your affection in three years? Grunts? Sporadic eye contact? It’s a slippery slope.
But one thing is certain: Nothing says the romance has died quite like being ily-ed.
So cut your bullshit pseudo-philosophy. Language is an imperfect form of communication. It’s tragic, when you think about it (which is why I’m tearing up a little–that and the smoke coming from the oven). You’ll never be able to communicate to someone exactly what you mean to tell them. But the point is to show someone you’re trying. The point is to get as close as you can, because you can fail more or you can fail less—and you’re failing miserably, to be totally clear, unless your goal was to communicate complacency and ignorance of capitalization rules for acronyms.
Just tell me, what is this perverted compulsion to find shortcuts? Why do you microwave potatoes instead of baking them? Why do you insist we play the shortened version of Monopoly? Why do you say “veggies”? Why are you scrolling through your iPad while I’m talking to you? Why do you still wear velcro shoes? What could you possibly be doing that is so important, to which every wasted second is so crucial?
But you like cutting things short? I’ll raise you one. I can abbreviate things, too, and I’ll start with our relationship:
I’m leaving you.