The other week, a friend pointed out the hashtag #CreepingSharia, which had been started by a member of the EDL who was objecting to the Islamification of everyday life, namely a picture of a mosque on Twitter. Fortunately the majority of Twitter users were roundly mocking the EDL, pointing out that the picture in question was actually the Taj Mahal. However, what struck me most was the illiteracy of the EDL’s posts.
Initially I thought there was something delightfully ironic about the English Defence League’s poor grasp of the English language. Then I decided it was actually quite sad. There seemed to be a strong correlation between ignorance and hatred.
Similarly, with Ched Evans’ recent conviction for rape, it is noticeable how few of the people abusing and insulting the victim online understand the difference between “your” and “you’re”: https://twitter.com/#!/search/freechedevans
This leads me to my suggestion: there should be a compulsory internet proficiency test. The internet should be divided into two parts. The main part is only accessible after passing a test on the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”, the use of the apostrophe, and whether or not homeopathy has any basis in science. The other part will be strongly filtered, so that "U da stoopid hoe!" becomes “I say old chap, I fear that you have angered me somewhat.”
Then I realised a flaw in this plan. Although I can tell my stationery cupboard from a stationary object, and can usually remember the difference between complementary and complimentary, I’m buggered if I know whether it’s practice or practise which makes perfect. I may end up condemning myself to the shallow end of the internet forever. On the plus side, at least I’d have all the people who believe that “cologne” is spelled without the silent “g” or the “e” to amuse (not bemuse) me:
It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “the bottom half of the internet”!