Sunday, November 11, 2007

You heard me! The way I are!

Published November 11, 2007
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

When it comes to music, I have fairly eclectic tastes. My choice of music is governed more by my mood than anything else. Most of the time, I'm in the mood for jazz or classical, but I find there's always room for country, classic rock, R&B, oldies, and even rap. It was while in one of these moods one morning last week that I decided to tune my radio to one of the popular stations in town.

As I drove to work, a new song was just beginning. The strong beat pulsed through my speakers, and I felt my head unconsciously bobbing along with it. That rhythm was accompanied by a peppy techno chord progression that immediately made me want to dance. I decided this one had promise.

And then (ooooh, you knew there'd be an "and then," didn't you?), the artist formerly known as "someone I'd never heard of and for good reason" started to sing. The lyrics conveyed the following message (paraphrased for clarity): "I'm a complete loser with no money, no prospects, and no intention of getting any, but I think we're going to be perfect for each other, mainly because I have absolutely no idea how to speak my native language."

If you think I'm being too hard on him, you won't for long. A female voice, upon hearing this profession of, uh, love says (inexplicably), "I like you just the way you are." Our jobless, penniless, grammar-challenged hero responds, "Can you handle me the way I are?" Yeah, that's what I said...the way I are.

I actually might be wrong about that lyric. When I listen to the song, I hear, "Can you handle me the way I'm are?" but lyric sheets all over the internet have it as "the way I are," and the name of the song is actually, "The Way I Are," so that must be it. As I write this, I realize I've been doing exhaustive research to find the correct version of this torturously incorrect lyric so as not to embarrass myself by getting it wrong. I'M worried I might embarrass MYSELF.

Here's what I want to know. How is it that no one in the entire music industry had it in them to tell this person that he sounds like a complete moron in his song? When you think about the astronomical number of people involved in producing an album... No one stopped for one second and said, "Dude, my three year old daughter knows it's not 'the way I are.' Are you serious? Because, no." I'm thinking someone, anyone from the sound mixer to the CD jacket artist could have at any moment stopped this man from infiltrating the airwaves of the world with a grammatical travesty such as this. Alas, the travesty continues unabated.

Perhaps I'm showing my age or complete lack of modern sensibility here. Or maybe I'm just one of the few remaining warriors in an epic battle against the dumbing down of the English language. It's a losing battle if I ever saw one, mainly because the people I'm trying to convince probably don't understand a word I'm saying, and those that do are more interested in making money than producing something that doesn't make the ears of English teachers everywhere shrivel up and retreat into their skulls for refuge. Can nothing be done?

WARNING! LAST DITCH EFFORT AHEAD! Mr. Grammar-Challenged Freeloader, I are Sarah Wilson. I writes words fur dah newspapers. I are sad. Your song hurt my ears lots. It make me cries. I'm are disappointed. Please stop...soon. And I are hope you know. I like you just the way you are...

...when you are silent.