I had been puzzled for some time by the utterly incomprehensible lyrics to a song in the background of a Citicorp ad ("Somebody left the gate open/we got lost on the way/Somebody save us/ the runaway train, gone insane" -- what does that mean? It makes "What's the word/Thunderbird" sound profound by comparison.) Anyway, I was looking up the artist and found out it was from "Into the Wild" by someone calling herself LP. I saw a number of predictable comments on the video, the usual "I hate it"/"I love it"/"That's one ugly guy"/"I would turn lesbian for her" that you always find on emo-ish female singers' videos. And then the one that amused me to no end:
Man, can she whale.Now, "can she wail" would have been a pretty trivial comment if it had been spelled right. But how on earth did someone manage to misspell it? I mean, "wail" is a common word, and "whale" is not. So why did someone manage to suggest she was engaged in hunting marine mammals? It just boggles the mind.
I know it sounds like a trivial complaint but it isn't. It is one of those things I can't figure out about bad spelling. When someone takes an unusual word and spells it using a more common homophone (using "your" for "yore", for example), or a similar word ("ear" for "ere" or "Lou" for "lieu"), that I can understand. When one confuses two common homophones ("you're" and "your"), that makes sense. Even when someone forgets which words are contractions and which aren't (again, "you're" and "your"), it is understandable. I can even get it when someone uses internet contractions ("l8r") or advertising spellings ("hi", "lite", "thru").
But how do you take a common word and replace it with a relatively uncommon one? Replacing "rain" with "reign" for example. Or, "wail" with "whale". It just makes no sense.
Well, in any case, it just amused me, so I thought I would share it. Doubtless, sooner or later I will be moved to post a more comprehensive spelling or grammar Nazi post. Until then, I hope this brought at least a tiny smile.
By the way, for those who live in areas served by Xfinity (AWFUL name! Pure marketron nonsense!), who also know their 80's "alternative" music, am I the only one who finds it odd to hear the instrumental sections of "Love Vigilantes" playing behind Xfinity's advertisements? When they are trying to market their online services as fast and friendly, is a song about a soldier's family being told he died really the best choice?
And it is an odd choice. It is a kind of anemic instrumental bit, rather quiet and flat, and they keep the levels low, so for those who don't know the song, it must sound very bland and dull. While for those who do know it -- and New Order was big enough in the 80's that the number who do recognize it is not inconsequential -- many must be doing what I do whenever I hear it, mumbling the lyrics, and immediately afterward marveling at how poorly they fit what I just saw on the screen.