Small Wonder & the Sanctity of Language; Google it

Does anyone remember the 80’s show Small Wonder? It came out in 1985 and only lasted a few seasons, but I was obsessed with it when I was young. If you haven’t seen it, Small Wonder was about a little girl robot named Vicki and her weird family. I was four years old when the show first aired, but I had a huge robot crush on Vicki, and I secretly hated Jamie.

I re-watched some of those old episodes yesterday, and it wasn’t exactly as I remember it. But, it was nostalgic enough to watch a few episodes, despite how bad the show is. At some point within the first few episodes, they use the word “googol”. I was really confused at first. That show was current long before Google was even close to becoming a thing. Like at that time, the inventor of Google hadn’t yet been invented himself. That vision wasn’t realized until 1998, a whole 13 years after Small Wonder.

Either way, the slightly delusional, perversely over sexed, misogynist, clueless, and socially awkward inventor-genius dad on that show uses the word “googol” in an actual sentence. And, he is not referring to the Internet. He’s referring to a googol. That’s a 1 with 100 zeros behind it. “Holy shit. It’s a real thing?”

googol_t_shirt_black_product

This is what a googol looks like

I said that part out loud. Lindsey turned her head and said, “I can’t believe you didn’t know that.” Why. In. the. Fuck. Would. I. Ever. Know That? That’s what I want to know. How would I ever use that word in context? I don’t work with numbers large enough to quantify a googol, soooo…I’m not sure I ever knew it was a real word.

It’s just so strange that we use words for things that are branded to forever mean something different. If you knew what googol meant before Google actually branded it (different spelling) with their multi-billion dollar wizard branding stick, then you should be fucking rich.

If you’re not a genius and you’re not rich, then just stop learning useless words that no one will ever need to use in context. It’s obsolete. How do I know? Because, I’m a writer who taught high school English for five years. Believe me, we’re not teaching your kids that shit. But, then again, I never paid much attention in math class. Even so, when was the last time you sat around trying to write something and thought to yourself, “hmmm…I need to think of a word that represents a number larger than a billion but not quite infinity….” Never. That never happens. Unless you are literally Google. And then, that’s exactly what happened.

Companies like Google are so smart it’s ridiculous. Like, who decided to think of a word that average people never really use, and then use that word to define and mass market a colossal corporation so that for the rest of eternity that word will never again be associated with it’s real definition.

Advertising amazes me. How can some of these companies be so effective that they are able to permanently alter our sense of certain words and forever redefine their association in pop culture? By the time the iGeneration has its own set of children, those kids will come out under the impression that an apple is an electrical device with which they can take selfies all day to post on Facebook. Then they’ll be all, “Um hey mom, can I have one of those red things for breakfast?” And mom’s all, “You mean an apple?” And kid’s like “No, that thing in the fruit bowl that tastes good with caramel sauce but doesn’t fill you up because it’s not a banana.” (An Apple is the thing he’s using to text his mom from across the table. )

And, now we even have weird made up words that are actually in reference books like the CMS. Those words are the most annoying of them all. It’s like, I think I want to make up my own word today. I know, I will select a random word from the e-dictionary and add another word…preferably not an adjective because we wouldn’t want it to make any actual sense…and then add an e- (or any other vowel, respectively) to the beginning of it. Wham. We have a new word and maybe even a million dollar idea. That’s just how the English language rolls. That’s what I used to tell my students when they asked about stuff like this, which was pretty much never.

How are new words invented Ms. Harman? Well, some kid from Yale discovers a way to bridge the gap between two words that literally have nothing to do with one another, and separate them using this little line right here: (-). That’s called a hyphen. The best thing about a hyphen is that after a few years, they just disappear. It’s kind of like the stitches they use to close up wounds at the hospital. The hyphen helps the two words to figuratively grow together, because most people are too stupid to recognize the ruse that’s called literate.

Web Site. Web-site. Website. Not only is that just plain weird…it’s laziness at its finest. Yes, the marrying of words….it’s when you get so lazy that adding an extra space or—even worse—adding a hyphen when you’re sending a text from your iPhone, becomes completely arbitrary and suddenly you’ve created a hybrid word to represent the sheer stupidity of the world we live in. And, then the conservatives come out with their picket signs and their evangelist ministers to propose a ban on it; because marriage is a word that God uses to define the relationship between a man and a woman.

Listen, I don’t like the idea of inventing new words like online by stringing together an entire prepositional phrase anymore than the next guy, but isn’t that a little vague? So, technically, marriage is a word to define a relationship between any one man and any one woman? Or, wait…now I’m confusing myself. These people are so close-minded that they spend billions of dollars and all their time trying to legally define a word? If any one of them had half a brain, they would just add an e- in front of it, and they’d be set. It’s like a new copyright law.

The evolutionary process of the word marriage would look something like this: marriage, E Marriage, e marriage, E-marriage. Emarriage. eMarriage. And, then they’re all like, don’t use my word to define your deviant behavior…lesbians and gays. Oh please, you can keep the word. While you were fighting to keep it away from me, the rest of the world went and redefined it behind your back. Now, they use the word marriage to define the failed relationship between a man and a woman.

Here’s what I think…what God actually meant when he spoke to Moses in ENGLISH (I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either) is that you can’t have several of them. It should just be one. A man. A woman. It was singular. A husband. A wife. Not my first wife, third wife, and the one I remarried twice…and I’m not saying people can’t get divorced. Live and let live. But, don’t preach to me about the sanctity of the commitment you made to four different people on five different occasions. K? Because, I’m pretty sure you’re using the word out of context.

If they were smart, they’d just add that e- in front of it, keep it for themselves, and stop bitching about it. OR, if they were REALLY smart, they would take it a step further and do what the engineers at my work do…add a letter to the beginning of the word to represent which marriage they’re referring to. “Oh, we’re adding a new pipe to this mechanical structure? Let’s call it an N-Pipe…N for new.”   Maybe, they could be really inventive and actually just add a power to the word marriage. Like Google…10 to the 100th power. Or something. “So, what are you up to tonight?” “I’m getting married to the 10th power.” “Wow, what happened to the first nine?” “The sanctity ran out…there just wasn’t enough to go around once the gays came out and starting trying to follow suit.”

Who decided that protecting the sanctity of marriage is equal to protecting the sanctity of the word “marriage”? Like, Senator Cruz woke up one day and said, “I know what will help! If the gays want to get married, they should start calling it by a totally different name. That way, we can protect the sanctity of marriage (and divorce) while also protecting our freedom to be a TOTAL DICK.” And, if you’re a man who likes men…well, that’s fine as long as you do it in bath houses and public parks after dark so that no one will ever know why your wife left you and that you actually like men. The right side has totally perfected the art of this…I find it hard to imagine that they aren’t able to also come up with their own word for a slew of broken marriages and an incognito homosexual lover.

Incognito. That’s another word that Google revived for its own purposes. Notice how they have to put a spy character next to the word? That’s because they know the American public is far too stupid to know what that word means, and far to lazy to actually Google it. So, now we have a googol of words that were once simple nouns (and adjectives/adverbs) before Google came along and transformed them into multi-purposeful slogans to represent their total unwavering power over the world, along with every single part of speech in the English language. Google is like the f-word. It can be used as a noun or a verb or an adverb or…well, I’m trying to imagine what it means to do something “with Google” as in, with total power over all things good and righteous. It’s not a great adverb. But, you can add an “ly” to the end… googly. That might work.

Anyway, sorry for ranting. I’m not really complaining, because I like Google just fine, and I also think language should change overtime, just like anything else in the world. And, I’m not even really complaining about marriage and politicians who want to ban the gay variation thereof. I don’t need to complain anymore, because we just won Arkansas. That one took me by surprise. It seems like once we have a state like Arkansas on board, it’s pretty much all down hill from here. I guess, along with their misguided, consumer-centric vocabulary, today’s younger generations aren’t quite as tolerant of hate and bigotry.

Maybe that’s why shows like Duck Dynasty cause such a ruckus. I think it’s funny when people say things like “we should have the freedom to say whatever we want, this is America.” Yes, we should, and we do. A&E is not code word for the American government. The network took the show off the air (temporarily) because they were embarrassed to be associated with backwoods, racist, homophobic idiots who have no business being on TV. It’s not like a law, people. No one is trying to integrate it into the constitution. A&E was afraid their ratings would suffer if they didn’t react to those comments. The show’s back on after a short break, so the network made its point and your religious freedom is exactly where is belongs.

If its ratings are 30 percent lower, well, that’s got nothing to do with your freedom. It’s just that people don’t want their mindless activities filled with mindless notions about white supremacy and hatred for gays and lesbians. He’s not going to jail for being an asshole. But, a lot of people will like him a lot less. That’s kind of what happens when you’re unkind to people. They think you’re an asshole. How is that infringing on your religious freedom or freedom of speech? I will say, however, he’s the only guy I know of who talks about Romans and actually has a full-grown beard. At least he’s not a hypocrite.

As I’m typing this, my neighbor is mowing his lawn and my dogs are going nuts. I don’t know if this happens to you as often as it happens to me, but I find myself totally freaked out by neighbors with young children who are mowing their lawns. Does that make sense? Like, I am sitting here watching my dogs run around like pyshcopaths because this guy is mowing his lawn, and it’s really loud. And, then suddenly, I hear kids screaming in the background and the mower turn off. Then, the dad starts screaming for the mom…and I’m like, “holy shit, did one of those kids get run over by the lawn mower?”

I can’t tell you how often that thought crosses my mind. Maybe I’m subconsciously afraid of lawn mowers. It’s literally my first thought anytime I hear mowing and screaming, which is at least twice a week. And, to date, it’s never actually happened before. At least, it hasn’t happened to any of my neighbors. I don’t know why I’m so preoccupied by the idea of a lawn mower apocalypse, when the only thing the kids in this neighborhood have to worry about is my Australian Shepherd digging out from behind our fence.

Anyway, Small Wonder. Google it. It’s badly written, poorly executed, and totally sexist. But, when wearing rose-colored glasses, it’s like a recap of all the weird ideas born from the 80’s like Transformers, Vanilla Ice, Garbage Pail Kids, Smurfs, and creepy teddy bears that talk. It’s weird, but not quite as weird as all the words that have been redefined in our subconscious because of effective marketing like Twilight, Amazon, Google, and Fox. That last one was just my last-ditch, best effort to tie this whole rant together. Ineffective, but then again, I’m not the ACME Corporation and I don’t sell anvils…so…

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This show was AWESOME

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10 thoughts on “Small Wonder & the Sanctity of Language; Google it

    • That’s EXACTLY what I thought too. But, I was telling my partner about some of the weird shows I watched in the 80’s, and she had never heard of “the girl robot show” before. I couldn’t remember what it was called, so I GOOGLED it. And, that’s why this post is so jumbled with weird, mismatched ideas that have no real relevance to one another. Lol.

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  1. Kristina before you showed it to me the other night I was beginning to think you did make it up. Sorta felt the same way about that “fairy tale theater”

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  2. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.

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    or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.
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