Does anyone doubt this: The regulars of this site, with very little prodding, would admit that they consider their relationship to language as comparable to Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s to some randomly selected pinot noir of hidden vintage from his private cellar brought to him by his personal sommelier; and just as the Baron sniffed, sipped, aerated, and swirled the specimen on his palate and tried to decide if it was from that splendid 1927 vintage or one from the slightly disappointing 1932 harvest, they, supposedly similarly, “taste” their words, making the most discriminating of assessments--while they regard the typical bloke’s relationship to language as more like the town drunk’s to the Thunderbird he guzzles from the bottle (and dribbles on his shirt in the process). That’s their comforting delusion.
But here’s the reality: Every regular who’s expressed himself or herself above, feels Richard and I are one. You language connoisseurs, who fancy that you are capable of discerning every barely articulable nuance of a word, every connotation so subtle that it almost slips into a synapse and disappears before your supple neurons can process it---you lords of the language, in actual fact, can’t detect the striking stylistic and even more glaring philosophical differences between Richard and me that should have been apparent from about the third syllable of Richard’s first post.
Are all you regulars so monumentally lacking in analytical skills that you don’t recognize that Richard’s point of view is directly antithetical to mine? MY only concern is preservation of a common meaning between speaker and listener---haven’t you grasped that I regard any serious time devoted by schools and scolds to the mechanics of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and, the current focus of attention, cursive writing, as a prosecutable misallocation of resources?
Of course, in the debate that I sought of that very narrowly limited prescriptivism of mine, Enlightened Prescriptivism as I called it, I would have laid out and defended those propositions, and something genuinely stimulating and provocative might have happened on this site for the first time in years (my examination of previous threads strongly indicates), but that debate didn’t take place because all parties on the other side lacked the intellectual curiosity, the skill, or the confidence in their forensic abilities to engage. (By the way, Dave, in order to avoid justified accusations of misrepresentation, you ought to delete from your description of the General Discussion section the phrase “discussions about the English language writ large”. The pomposity of that claimed interest versus the pitifully petty nature of this site’s actual interests only invites derision.)
In concluding that Richard and I were the same person, all that you regulars could see was that Richard and I both expressed views in opposition to the establishment (i.e. this site’s regulars). That effort at analysis evidently left you too mentally exhausted to penetrate any more deeply. I imagine you all must consider Thomas Paine and Karl Marx as indistinguishable too.
Richard, though you and I disagree fundamentally on the language issue, I respect and applaud your willingness to confront the smug, posing mandarins of this site. May I suggest that the only way you might extract anything worthwhile from the encounter is by viewing the site’s regulars as I did-- as laboratory specimens, just so many frogs to be dissected amid the acrid reek of formaldehyde, as you investigate how the oligarchs of a group seek to maintain power by instantly mocking and excluding any “intruder” who threatens to make himself conspicuous and, God forbid, even briefly overshadow them. That, I think, more than any of the reasons I cited two paragraphs ago, explains their behavior.