In previous postings on word rage, we've noted (mock) threats of punching, slicing, bludgeoning, shooting, hanging, and lightning strikes. Commenting on Ron Charles, "1 Millions Words! But Who's Counting?", Washington Post, 4/29/2009, someone identifying himself as andrewsalomon added judicially-sanctioned electrocution:
I don't know anything about the million-word business, but is there any chance of getting Benjamin Zimmer or, I don't know, Congress, to enact a statute that would allow for the zapping of 1,000 volts of electricity through anyone who uses "impact" as a verb?
The commenters on Caroline Gail's "The words in the mental cupboard", BBC News, 4/28/2009, were mostly pretentious rather than aggressive. Thus Berenice Mortimer, from Westlock, Canada, wrote that "Unfortunately, one is considered elitist if one uses words which other people cannot understand. So, in a sense, one keeps one's knowledge well under wraps," and Kate Jones, from Lancaster UK, wrote "I remember my horror as a trainee teacher covering the legend of Beowulf with a year 7 class, at being told by one little boy that Beowulf ‘had a bling-bling shield’.
But one of the commenters at spEak You're bRanes ("Very Clever People", 5/1/2009), using the pseudonym Head of English, cleverly mocked the rage beneath the surface, while adding premeditated vehicular assault to our growing list of retributional modes:
No! The awful little fucker, how dare an 11 year old not appreciate that they didn’t say ‘bling bling’ in the Middle Ages. Or in your parent’s house. God the kids today!
In my GCSE class, one smelly urban toe-rag said Juliet was “pro’bly well fit, an’ that”. I was simply appalled. I waited for him after school and ran him over. And I reversed over him a couple of times too, to make sure that everyone clearly understood the guardianship of the English language is the exclusive preserve of the middle class.
I remain puzzled about why this camped-up rage over lexical and orthographic deficiencies seems to be a purely anglophone thing. It's easy to find concerns over the vocabulary and literacy of Kids Today among (say) the French, and these concerns may be linguistically ill-informed and full of class prejudice. But I have yet to find a forum where people propose to defend la langue française with threats of assault, even in jest.