Twenty-seven year old linguist - and degree-toting philologist - Marina, has renewed my hope in the world's literacy with her cleverly sexy YouTube show, HotForWords, and its sister website, hotforwords.com.
It can be daunting to spend even a few moments on MySpace or Facebook reading the comments of the 20-something year-olds to their peers; literacy is not only lacking, its hardly acknowledged. These young adults could care less that they sound illiterate and uneducated; in fact, one has to wonder if they even realize how ignorant their writing and over usage of chat-slang makes them sound.
It's not a secret that the United States isn't up to par as far as educating our youth goes; my home state of Louisiana, alone, is second-to-worst in education and it shows. I ask you to take a moment of your time, for the next few days of this week, to go and read some of the articles at our local news station and newspaper's websites, WAFB and WBRZ/The Advocate. Remembering that the reporters and staff here are college-educated individuals writing for the capital city's news publications, take note of the overall prose. A good majority of the pieces are simply badly written - which is to say nothing of the misspelled words, fragmented and run-on sentences, and blatant misuse of punctuation and sentence structure.
I'm far from a literary genius and I'll be the first to tell you I am not college-educated, but I tend to understand the simple basics of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Not only that, I care that what I write is legible, literate, and well-written. I make mistakes - we all do - but I'm also writing in personal blogs, not the state capitol's official news stations' websites.
The sad truth is, hundreds - if not thousands - of young adults are graduating college today with absolutely no concept of how to write. I don't expect them all to be polished novelists, but I do expect someone with a college education to have, at least, the rudimentary skills of simple composition.
The plethora of media that is available today for consumption isn't exactly upping the bar either. That's why Marina at HotForWords has my absolute adoration and respect. Sure, she's using her obvious sex appeal and hotness to get herself noticed and her work out there - but doing it for such a wonderful reason and cause completely makes sense.
You've got to be rather shocking or at least somewhat noticeable to grab the attention of young adult audiences today. They are dazed by the in-your-face and fantastical on a minute-to-minute basis on television and the Internet. There's so much to choose from and so much to pique your interest, you get numb just trying to take it all in. And here, in all of this wild, crazy, often insane, media hullabaloo is this gorgeous woman talking about words. The written word and its mysterious origins and how to best use it in a sentence. While you're gawking at Marina's breasts or mesmerized by her blue eyes and sexy accent, you're actually learning something. And that, folks, is a beautiful thing.
In a world today where sounding literate and well-spoken is an after-thought - if its a thought at all - having someone preach the beauty of linguistics is insanely refreshing. If it takes a little cleavage to get the masses to listen, I'm all for it. It's time young adults and older teens get reacquainted with words and learn to respect and appreciate them; because, the truth is, the power of words and the voice they give you to speak up for yourself and get your ideas, thoughts, passions, and feelings expressed to others is immeasurable.
I left this comment for Miss Marina on her latest YouTube video:
I just found you on YouTube today and - I'm in love! Naturally, your beauty is stunning but it is that sexy, gorgeous brain I'm in awe of. From one lover-of-words to another, *thank you* for getting people far and wide interested in the beauty of the written word once more. Perhaps there is hope that 'chat slang' and today's illiteracy rate won't mean the annihilation of good grammar, correct word usage, and pleasing prose.
And that, folks, sums it all up pretty damn well.