Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You Guys... can rack off

Half-term, eh? Don'cha love it? Only if you're under 18. Because once again those with the remaining half of their brains not withered by parenthood have to tolerate otherwise non jellybrained persons lapsing into one of the most poisonous usages of English currently around - referring to any collective, from 1 to 100 children as 'you guys'.

Doesn't this make you want to SCREAM? People that will rail against political correctness will resort to this cutest of cuteisms (cf Fussell, BAD, 1993), and not even from native familiarity, but from the telly.

The first time I heard this ostensibly OK term was from the comedy writer Alison Renshaw in 1991, when asking a group of men and women if they wanted another drink after a hard day's work at Week Ending. I rather liked it. That was, of course, before the linguistic degenerative disease known as 'Friends' which has debased English more than the word 'fuck' could or would ever.

While we're on the subject of telly, I recall ep.2 of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, in which the bearded prig and progressive parent Tom refers to his children not as children but, in a horrific pre-PC preface as 'tiny adults'. And so children are now treated as tiny adults - they're part of the gang, equals. Except they're not. They're loud, often intrusive, and undeveloped. They are members of their own gangs, not of ours. And as far as I can tell, they prefer it to remain that way. I did not, but I knew myself to be one of the exceptions to the rule.

CBBC is a case in point, desperately churning out programmes that pretends 10-year-olds are as clued as 18-year-olds. This is a gulf of knowledge that the passage of the years has not, to my knowledge, been bridged.

We can never again be children - let's not demean ourselves, or them, by pretending that the twain can meet. And consign this horrendous linguistic

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