Today saw the release of the anxiously awaited T-Mobile G1, the first phone to use Google's Android software. On T-Mobile's website, the first ad for the phone was unveiled, and it's packed with jocular comparative adjectives: smarterer, connecteder, funnerer.
This isn't just an homage to Dumb and Dumberer, the even more dim-witted sequel to Dumb and Dumber. Rather, it's being recognized by many in the techie community as a pointed jab at Apple honcho Steve Jobs, who recently enthused about "the funnest iPod ever." (That's still the tagline on the website for the iPod Touch.)
The to-do over Jobs's use of funnest has been covered elsewhere, notably by Grammar Girl, who began her podcast two weeks ago with news of this dire "grammar emergency": "Steve Jobs said funnest on Tuesday in his keynote address about the new iPods, and people all over the Internet freaked out." Grammar Girl provided a history of how fun became an adjective, and recently Neal Whitman of Literal-Minded offered a rebuttal. (For earlier discussions of funner and funnest, see Arnold Zwicky's post on the American Dialect Society mailing list from May 2006 and Jan Freeman's column in the Boston Globe from last March.)
Since the Google Android phone is seen as a direct assault on the supremacy of Apple's iPhone, the appearance of funnerer in the T-Mobile ad sent a dog-whistle of sorts to young technophiles. But perhaps the dog-whistle was too fine-tuned? Engadget made the connection to Apple's funnest pitch, but its fellow techie-blog Gizmodo just saw "Blatant Hostility Towards the English Language":
The first G1 ad has hit, and it's so sassy! It like, totally doesn't care about using proper English! It's just so much, uh, funnerer than other mobile ads. You know, because that's how the kids are talking these days. Incorrectly. Oh, T-Mo, you're so hip and with it. No wonder you wheeled out the Google kings on rollerblades today.
Clever quasi-grammatical stakes-raising or pathetic attempt at hipness? You decide.