Heroes of Language: JAY LENO

Jay Leno is a talk show host from the USA, but, despite his birthplace, he is actually able to “talk” something resembling English!   This is an amazing accomplishment in itself, but what makes Mr Leno an hero is his humourous treatment of mis-spellings and general lowlives who fail to proof-read things they may not have written and who may have English only as a second language.

Unfortunately, he seeks to do this in a positive way, with his Headlines segment, a collection of funny material that has appeared in American newspapers (shouldn’t that be everything? Hahahaha).   Nonetheless, there is a lot at which to laugh, or, if you are a misanthropic Queen’s English Society type, cry and maintain that you’re better than others.

It is heartening that there is a few who do indeed understand the proper rules of English, but unfortunately they are a small and unimportant shower of people in a country far away. A great pity.

On our side of the Atlantic pond, we have the similar Colemanballs, a collection of silly statements by sportpeople and other public figures, published by Private Eye.   In fact, there are many such movements afoot that deal with bad English (and the overuse of “literally”) using humour instead of contemptuous rants devoid of wit.

Given the weight of evidence, it would appear almost that our PEF needn’t exist and that our snipingly negative Errors List and Enemies List are unfunny hindrances to a better-English-speaking world!   Thankfully this is not true.

Thats him on the left. [pd]

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