JRM and language

While I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a philologist given I only know english (well, and a bit of french, as well as a smattering of Klingon and Sindarin), I have always had an affinity for language. I see myself as a writer: writing has always been my primary outlet, and I can express myself much more eloquently in writing than using my natural voice. (Saying words like ‘juxtaposition’ or ‘vainglorious’ isn’t easy with athetoid cerebral palsy). I also love the way language changes over time, and how one morphs into another. It is far from stationary, with no iron clad rules; that is part of the beauty of language.

It therefore sickens me to hear that some arrogant Etonian p’tahk has taken it upon himself to try to dictate what words and phrases can and cannot be used in Westminster. Just who the hell does Jacob Rees-Mogg think he is? Such arrogance really, really annoys me: it’s as if he assumes his class makes him superior to the rest of us, and that he can arbitrate what form of language is correct and permissible.

The buffoon is not, of course, superior to anyone. For one, he is not that remarkable academically, only having got an upper second bachelors on history. While that might be a fair enough achievement, it does not qualify Rees-Mogg to become Lord of The Symbolic. He is trying to place himself on an intellectual level which he has no right to: in trying to set these pretentious rules down, Rees-Bogg is stating that the way he says things is correct, and the rest of us are wrong, asserting a social superiority he just does not have. In trying to dictate what people say and how they say it, he’s asserting himself as master of the Symbolic, and the Symbolic, in Lacanian Theory, underpins and structures reality, shaping our Imaginary and how we perceive the Real.

For anyone to assume they have the social authority to do that is, of course, the height of arrogance. Some of the most incredible people I have ever known can’t ‘speak’ in the conventional sense, much less use a snooty, pseudo-aristocratic accent. Many, such as the young people at school or at Onevoice, used forms of language and grammar which were unconventional, but that did not matter in the slightest, as long as they could express themselves. And I truly believe with every fibre of my being that any of them would be far, far better qualified to run the country than an overprivaleged moron born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He might not be a moron on the level of his education (a degree is, after all, a degree); but for Rees-Mogg to assume that that degree, combined with a concept as outdated as class, automatically gives him the authority and expertise to decide how people should speak and write, betrays a naivete about how the world works so severe that it can only be called moronic. An upper second can, after all, be bettered, so Rees-Mogg clearly isn’t the intellectual  giant he seems to want to portray himself as. What matters is what we say, not how we say it; language should be used to build bridges, not set people apart. And it certainly shouldn’t be used as a tool for claiming utterly unearned social authority.

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