New-Wave Culture and the LOL

Let me begin by saying that I hold no malice, no personal opinion - nor any judgement over you.

However, I fear, at times, the English language is in a steady decline, lost under piles of trackie-suit and eighties scrunchie toting morons. I know what you're about to say - she said she wouldn't judge?

I'm not, honest. I'm also not suggesting you wear scrunchies or are a moron. There is a story, a real reason behind my observations of late. In no way am I suggesting that anyone who uses abbreviations under the sub-heading of this stream of Text Culture - is either an idiot or a Vicki Pollard body-double. I know many people who use the lol's, I love you and hold you in high regard - I just dislike it, quite a lot.

Don't you agree though, that it's possible as humans under huge pressures to work, work, work and do more work, with families to support and avoid categorising under latch-key-children... that we have become so ridiculously busy - that even the effort of speaking has dwindled into the same save-time-bag-of-supermarket-pre-chopped swede - leaving us with little or no inclination to speak above the capabilities of a sea-gull who's had his face smashed in by a fast moving tug?

I have no right to place myself on any pedestal. Have no fear; my feet are planted firmly on the ground. Even I occasionally succumb to the odd faux-pas, the odd cringy, verbal miss-demeanour which makes me pull a face like I've just filled my nappy and it’s about to leak. I am also guilty of many things which will probably make the dead turn in their graves and the living recoil in horror. I'm not perfect. Nor do I claim to be - I just don't get how we transferred text into tongue

As a child of the seventies, going through puberty in the eighties and finding the world in the nineties - I have seen many changes, socially.

When I was about thirteen, two of the most glamorised jobs for women, pumped by the media and film industry - were Air Stewardess' and Secretaries/PA's. (Yes, believe it or not – it was so) My point? Shorthand was a big thing back then, but I don't recall anyone transferring this time saving skill into conversation. Imagine if you will...

This is only one example of shorthand, there are many and the others are radically more complex. The above is an abbreviation of our language, a time saving device and Eco-friendly alternative to wasting reams of precious paper explaining that the brown fox is an opportunist, a carnivore and an out-right bloody thief. Not once did anyone try to articulate this alternate language. (At least not to my knowledge.) So why now?

Grr. Now you're going to say 'you just used one'. No I didn't. It was an expression, a kind of onomatopoeia, letting you know how I feel. Ha ha is the same. It's a literary, emotional reaction to something you read or use to write - and we actually use these expressions in the really, real world too.

So now I will explain why I have such an adverse reaction to lol and fml and all the others which my Bowyers, pork-sausage-fingers are reluctant to type... 

All of these abbreviations/acronyms are commonly used in type, on phones, pc’s and hand-writing. More than once I have suggested that they are used in verbal dynamics and by now you are probably wondering what planet I'm on - hold fire, I'm getting to that.

One summer, a few years ago, while planting in my herbaceous borders... (just kidding, I was lounging outlandishly with hairy legs and a can of Scrumpy Jack in my hand, probably) when a click of the gate-latch was closely followed by my daughter, her friend and a supermarket trolley. Just to make it clear, it was an abandoned trolley. My daughter did not steal it - this time.

After I'd lovingly asked her 'where the hell she had found it?' - I was re-assured it was an above board find and went back to sunning myself - that was until I heard the fence being climbed from the other side.

Only moments later, the child who lived next door, older than my daughter and a tween - popped up, eyes and ears above fence height, staring at the glistening, metal 'adult pram' that now had my daughter and her friend sitting in it.

After that moment, my ears imploded, my heart sank and my revulsion for the verbal abbreviation began.

Amused, I assume, by the sight in her neighbours garden, the girl opened her mouth slowly, turned her head to look at me and... 

she said 'LOL'

She didn't spell out L-O-L, nor did she laugh - her expression was completely blank, not a mouth crease in sight. She said LOL as if the word had a place in the Oxford Dictionary next to laughter. I was not impressed. I was also slightly disturbed. What I actually wanted to do was break out my ninja frying pan. But I refrained. Her Majesty's hotel - does not appeal.

Hopefully my rant will make a little more sense now. In no way am I blighting every child or adult out there as using the above dirty phrase in such extremes. But I hope you understand when I say - I fear for our future generations. I worry that this new wave of cool will irreversibly change how our children perceive the grey lines between labour-saving and necessity within our language. Articulation should come from the heart - not a lazy-culture manual.

My opinions are extreme, granted. And of course they are only mine. I'm not expecting you to agree, and I'm certainly not attempting to convince you I am right. But, keep your peepers peeled...and feel free to shove a book in the mouth of any child who dares to abbreviate verbally at you. (Just make sure no-ones watching or you'll end up in prison.)

Anyway. I won't keep you.

Hope you're rotfl.
Brb. No I won't.
I'm an Acorn - I know. (Look that one up.)
And this one - AIAMU.

Remember - I still love you even if you use these. But be vigilant, I warn you. 

Authors note: If I have in any way offended any LOL users out there. I'm sorry. However, I stand my ground and cannot be contacted any time, ever. I'm off planet and don't fancy a kipper in my face by way of retort - I'll leave you with this to work out.

KMAMFA... :)

Love you

- Danl



  1. Love it. If you think much has changed in your lifespan consider the change in mine. And not much of it for the better. TTFN


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