Too many people just don’t know how to behave—or how to use words properly. Fines, jail and shoe-shining duty await them allby Terry Eagleton / May 25, 2011 / Leave a comment
If I were chief executive of the cosmos, the following individuals would be abolished: Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Prince Andrew, Piers Morgan, the BBC’s Ben Brown for his nauseating right-wing bias in reporting a student demo, and Robert Kilroy-Silk (who seems to have abolished himself, thus saving the state the trouble and expense). Brief custodial sentences would be handed out to anyone caught using the following clichés: at the end of the day, over the moon, level playing field, no probs, going forward, pushing the envelope, in the wrong place at the wrong time, drawing a line and moving on.
A system of fines would be instituted for people who say “refute” when they mean “rebut,” “floor” when they mean “ground” and “literally” when they don’t mean literally at all. People who think the phrase “to beg the question” means “to raise the question,” or who think “fortuitous” means “felicitous,” will be issued with a police caution. The promiscuous use of the word “potentially,” as in: “He’s potentially a candidate for the job,” will get you placed under 24-hour surveillance. Prizes will be awarded to those still able to use the colon.
Kate Winslet will come to her senses and realise that she and I are soulmates. I will take her in only, however, if she promises there will be no more embarrassing displays of emotion at Oscar ceremonies. Peter Tatchell will be awarded a medal, equivalent in stature to the Victoria Cross, for his outstanding bravery.
A government inquiry would be tasked with establishing whether Donald Trump is real or fictional. Nick Griffin would be forced to become a shoeshine boy in Lagos, after a lengthy spell of latrine cleaning in Mumbai. Buckingham Palace would become a proper old people’s home, not the approximation to one it is at present.
The city of San Francisco would be moved to within 100 yards of my front door, as would Kate Winslet.
And the following categories of people would be either deported or offered as human sacrifices:
People who bump into you in the street because they are texting. People who spend an interminable amount of time getting into their aircraft seats, oblivious or indifferent to the fact that there are 75 passengers behind them, 20 of whom are out on the aircraft steps in the driving rain.
People who no longer even bother to…