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    Who Needs the Queen’s English?
    Let’s Throw Grammar into the Garbage Can!
    (Originally published by the Dana Society Journal in February, 2006)
    An Essay by Wolf Larsen

    Writers, poets, and playwrights should mold and bash language into whatever art form they wish to create. Traditional Grammar in creative works is unnecessary, and can often be an obstacle to the creative impulses of the writer. The writer should concern himself more with creativity, and less with correct grammar. The writer must do with language as he pleases. The writer should help destroy “standard” English, at least within the realm of contemporary literature.

    Language must be the servant of the writer, and the writer must be a god over the realm of words. The role of language is to lie down in front of the writer and beg to be ravished by him. In order to create a higher literary art the writer should throw off the straightjacket of grammar whenever necessary. The writer must create with the intensity and passion of a freed madman rampaging on the streets.

    Traditional grammar is not necessary in creative works. Take note that poetry and music are cousins. Literature often has a rhythm that makes grammar unnecessary, just as good verse has a natural flow that has made the rhyme obsolete. Many of the traditional rules of grammar are destined to go the way of the rhyme in poetry, at least in creative works.

    Writers should think of their literary creations in much the same why they think of sex. Correctly obeying all the rules of grammar while in the throes of literary creation is like having sex with your clothes on. An artist of words should write with the same intensity as passionate sex. All boundaries to expression should be smashed open with pens that crash through everything like sledgehammers.

    Grammar lends legitimacy to “standard” English, which is the spoken and written medium of communication of the elite. Of course, how convenient for the upper classes that their way of talking and writing is considered “standard”.

    Why should the mode of speaking of the most privileged members of our society be considered “standard” English? Why shouldn’t the rich and constantly evolving language of poor blacks in the ghetto be considered “standard English” instead? People from all over the world do not crowd in giant concerts or tune into their radios to hear the privileged members of our society recite “standard” English. There is a worldwide fascination with hip-hop for good reason. Hip-hop glorifies the “standard” English of the black American ghetto, which is far more exciting and rich in contemporary culture than the “standard” English of Park Avenue. Take note that rap music has brought a resurgence of interest in poetry.

    Standard English is constantly under siege from the influences of the black ghetto and immigration. Writers should stop defending “standard” English and should participate in its downfall. Gutting “standard” English and its rules of grammar will free the writer to express himself more freely than ever!

    Another reason to throw “standard” English in the garbage is that it is not worth saving. The English language originates from invading barbarians of different tribes and races all babbling and babbling to each other for thousands of years on the British isles. This of course helps explain why English is such a course and ugly language in comparison with the romance languages. If it wasn’t for the civilizing influence of the French language brought over by the Normans English would probably sound as ugly as German.

    The defenders of “standard” English who obsess over its grammar are obstacles in the necessary evolvement in what has become the most important language of the world. Instead of rejecting the growing international and cosmopolitan influences of an evolving language we should embrace these changes. The further that English evolves away from its barbaric Anglo-Saxon heritage the better. If purists and traditionalists want a language with unchanging rules of grammar then let them learn Latin.

    More than ever the time is ripe for a rebellion against grammar and tradition. With the invention of word processing there is no excuse for literature to remain one of the most backward areas of the art world. Word processing, because it makes change, experimentation, and innovation easier, is an important development that can help writers, poets, and playwrights to free literature from its chains. Look at how painting has constantly revolutionized itself over the past one hundred and twenty years. Artists of the written word should do the same!

    When we have sex most of us do not invent a bunch of rules to make the experience less enjoyable. Why not eliminate the rules in literature? Why shouldn’t literature be as exciting and decadent as sex? Let us free literature from the constraints of grammar like two lovers throwing off their clothes and diving into a natural frenzy of joy!

    Established rules of music, painting, and sculpture have been thrown in the garbage by innovators like Stravinsky, Picasso, and Rodin. The result has been a constantly changing art that is exciting and fresh. Painters and sculptors deposed of a rigid faithfulness to representation, and the result has been an explosion of artistic brilliance. Just as the painters deposed of rigid representation creative writers should depose of grammar whenever it gets in the way of expression. One obstacle to artists of the written word is the straightjacket of grammar, and its anal obsession with the placement of commas, colons, semicolons, etc. Who cares if a sentence is a fragment? Who cares if a sentence is a run-on? I wrote a 200,000 word run-on sentence. I slashed and cut it down to seventy-thousand words. It’s called The Exclamation Point! The idea of writing a run-on sentence occurred to me while I was sitting in a café in Amsterdam, Holland. I would never have dreamed up such a wild book if I had been loyal to the rules of grammar.

    Writers should do with language whatever they please. Any obstruction to expression must be obliterated into dust with the sledgehammers of our pens. Imagine that while you’re trying to make love to someone an old grammar teacher is yelling at you, “PUT A COMMA THERE! AND CHANGE THAT COLON TO A SEMI-COLON! OH NO! THAT SENTENCE IS A FRAGMENT!” It would be terrible, wouldn’t it? Why do you write under the same circumstances?
    Copyright 2005 by Wolf Larsen. All Rights Reserved

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