07 April 2010

Scrabbling for words

Is that a word? Scrabbling? I don't know, you tell me. But perhaps that won't matter one whit considering that Mattel has announced that proper nouns are now allowed in Scrabble. Proper nouns. Meaning your aunt's obscure embarrasing first name Tallulahdelilahchimchimneychim is a triple word score.

Now you may be wondering why I'm choosing to comment on something insignificant like Scrabble changing some rules when there are deaths galore in Iraq, India, Indonesia, Baja and Pakistan. When Gordon Brown v/s David Cameron v/s Nick Clegg is going to make a mad world of a difference (not) to Blighty. What's the significance of Scrabble eh?

Probably nothing. But it's my blog, remember. If it matters to me, then I'll write about it. Do I sound high-handed? Good. Because that's how high-handedness sounds. That's what Mattel sounds like. It's our bloody game. We market it. We'll change the damn rules if it suits us. And yes 'LOL' is a legitimate word. After all, you use it in chats and text messages and emails, don't you? Then why can't you win a few measly points off of it?

I'm not extremely resistant to change. I can embrace it if it comes to me with logic, champagne and a new pair of pantyhose. Really, I'm quite flexible then. But when Mattel went all GW Bush on my pretty posterior, I got annoyed. This is a game which actually helps educate the youth, some of whom write like this: Gr8, C U ltr and thinks it's perfectly reasonable to expect an A in the essay paper for the final exam. So by taking away its illuminating quality of words in the Oxford English Dictionary or Webster or Collins what does it hope to create?

First of all, family feuds. How easy will it be to cheat here? How will you ever find out if my aunt living on the shores of Lake Malawi isn't named Tallulahdelilahchimchimneychim? By the time you try and make a call to her, the game will be abandoned for a quick round of whatchamacallit play station something or the other.

Secondly, you're turning a generation of non-readers into non-speakers as well. How do you propose to enunciate Gr8? Grrrr-eight?

Thirdly, you've no business to mutilate beyond acceptance and redemption a game that so beautifully upheld the grace of the English language.

And fourthly, if this is a rejuvenating drive for cheap publicity and to compete against other games, shame on you for thinking that what has endured several wars and generational conflicts, won't survive the current onslaught of games that cost more than a pied-a-terre in Kensington.

Now if Mattel had announced a brand new game where only proper nouns and SMS language are allowed, then it would have truly contributed to the education of the senior generation. After all, they don't understand what Grrr-eight means and probably think it's an announcement of the Apocalypse at eight pm and run into their cellars every night.

Don't screw with what's good. There's plenty bad in the world already.