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Linguistics and Statistics: The Powers to Astound and Confound

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Farcical English: Using Linguistics and Statistics to Astound and Confound

Welcome to Advanced English: The Farcical Method. Our study of this illustrious subject commences with an enlightening study of several ways that aspiring writers and speakers (that's you) can persuade a target (ed) audience. Hence, I sharing some one-of-a-kind, super hot, English tips. (Oooh, wow! English lessons from a non-qualified "professional". I've got chills. Do you?) Before we begin our lesson, we should clarify our objectives, which are to persuade others to our "truth" and to appear intelligent and knowledgeable (without having to actually be either of these two qualities). We can easily achieve these lofty goals by using carefully crafted linguistics and statistics.
Our first lesson illustrates how the right word or word combination can effectively propel your witing into the stratosphere. On hand, for this lesson, is our new best friend, Mr. Thesaurus. (Did you know that the thesaurus was named after the Thesaurus dinosaur from the late Jurassic Park period. No? Well, you do now. And that's a "fact"! ) With the help of your thesaurus (not the dinosaur), you can create prose that is packed with the word equivalent of dynamite, resulting in a veritable explosion on paper. You can liken it to a literary train wreck, if you will. Now, isn't that exciting!
For instance, you could write the bland sentence, "The boy walked down the street." You could write this--and your audience would miss anything you said after this, as they would be asleep. (Remember: The audience that yawns is not full of pawns.) Sadly, one cannot persuade the sleeping. Hence, you will need to add some spice to your sentence, which you can do by consulting with your thesaurus. Presto, bingo! Now, like magic, you can toss out that boring sentence and replace it with this mouthful, "The pre-adolescent male ambled along the thoroughfare." Wow!! What an improvement! Now your audience is taking note! No more nap-inducing rhetoric for you!
As you may have noticed, excessive wordiness is a key component to appearing impressive (just look at this article, if you need further proof!). Some of you may have heard of the esteemed Strunk and White and you may believe as they have said, that brevity is best. Wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth! Brevity is not readily believed, but wordiness is. So, remember this helpful nugget: Wordiness will earn you cheers, while brevity will bring you jeers. After consulting with your thesaurus and spicing up your speech/writing, you can rest assured that you are well on your way to impressing your friends with your knowledge, all while looking awesome now.
Another terrific way of accomplishing your goals is to throw in some "statistics" and "facts", which may (or may not) have been "quoted" by "experts". Allow me to elaborate. The adage that you cannot judge a book by its cover is all too true. Yet, we as an "enlightened society" do this very thing all the time. Deceptions abound--and most are readily believed. Thankfully, appearances can be deceiving. (Ever seen a woman wearing a girdle or a padded bra? Now ever seen that same woman undress? Whoa! What a difference between perception and reality!) With this in mind, there is no need to actually study or learn anything in order to look knowledgeable. So long as you write or speak with conviction and back up your "statements" with plenty of "facts" and "figures", then you will be believed.
A great example of this premise is the following "statement": "The largest dinosaur of the Pre-Eclampsian Era was the Blue-Toothed Studdebakker, which grew to the astounding height of 980 feet. The Blue-Toothed Studdebakker eventually died out from the terrible Coughing Blight of 1922 which eradicated many species. In later years, this mammoth dinosaur was replaced by its smaller and more compact cousin, the Tri-Horned Toyotathinian." You may have noticed that this "fact" contains several "facts" and "figures". The Pre-Eclampsian Era. The Blue-Toothed Studdebakker. 980 feet. 1922. And, a lot of words that end in the letters 'ian'--a wonderful ending you can add to just about any word for instant credibility. When you write or say these "facts" with conviction, you will be instantly believed. Your audience will be impressed that you know about these things, because, frankly, they cannot recall ever hearing about the Blue-Toothed Studdebakker, but then, you are the expert, so you must know. Once you have delivered your "facts", you can sit back, basking in the glow of self-satisfied smugness, because you do indeed know these things.
To give added credence to your claims, insert as many statistics as possible into your speech or writing--and back these up with quotes from experts, especially effective when you add the name of the "institute" or "center" where your "expert" works. For example, would you argue with someone who convincingly claimed the following: "Did you know that approximately 50% of the earth's water supply is fresh water, which is used by 72.9% of the population of Uganda on a daily basis 42.7% of the time, unless it is a leap year, in which case, 92.6% of the earth's water-human ration is subjected to demands that exceed 265% of the maximum capacity in the Everglades 321 days of the year?" No sane person will argue with this statement. There are way too many numbers and "facts" to keep straight! After stating the above jewel, you can further back up your claims with a quote from the foremost expert on this subject. "Dr. Shuemaker at the Swiss Institute for the Advancement of Fictitious Studies suggests that this inequality of water-human ratio may cause the implosion of our planet in the next 99.2 years." (Oh, Dr. Shuemaker, you never let us down!) Always bear in mind that people are terrified of numbers. Were you to kidnap an average person at gunpoint and give that person a choice between doing algebra in a comfortable room or fighting a wild gang of angry gorillas, you would have to pull out the popcorn, because you would be in for some entertaining gorilla wrestling. Never underestimate the fear of math that most people have. Use this to your advantage!
Imagine the possibilities!! You don't actually have to KNOW anything, and yet you can be revered as being incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable. You can impress your friends and confound your rivals. (Take that, rivals!) All with a few simple tricks of the trade. Whether you attend your high school reunion or go to a droll dinner party, surrounded by people who might actually know things, you can now be the center of attention, reveling in your glorious new life as a know-it-all. The sky is the limit! The next time you are at a social event and you are not being given your due respect, simply wow those around you with your new store of "knowledge". Speak with conviction and "facts" and "figures" and your audience will hang on your every word. Even if you make no sense, no one will contest you, because you sound knowledgeable. As you spout your wisdom on the subject of Blue-Toothed Studdebakkers (or whatever you use), you will be surrounded by people who will nod, as if, yes, they, too, are quite familiar with that mammoth dinosaur. Just the other day they were discussing it...(If you don't believe me, read "The Emperor's New Clothes" and you will see what I mean.)
Having reached this point of esteem in the eyes of your audience, you can now take a few moments to engage in a harmless prank, if you so choose, by asking your nodding listeners point blank questions about the subject at hand. You might look at your acquaintaince, Doris, and say, "Doris, I noticed you were really nodding in agreement when I was talking about the people of the Marmaladian period. You are pretty educated. What do you think of the child rearing practices of those people? Pretty bizarre, huh? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this." Poor Doris will now be squirming like a fish on a hook, as she tries so hard to remember where she heard of the Marmaladian people. This is the perfect time for you to turn to her unwitting husband, Tom. "Hey, Tom, amateur history buff that you are. I've been wondering, do you think the Marmaladian peoples were more advanced than the Bluegrassian peoples? We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject, Tom. You always do know so much about these things." Now the only person in the room more uncomfortable than Doris is Tom. (See Tom. See Tom squirm. Squirm Tom squirm.) Congratulations! Using our farcical English methods, you have effectively become a figure both admired and revered. (And, all it cost you was your friends--and future invitations.)
In conclusion, our goals as modern people should be to appear intelligent and be persuasive, all while looking good to our peers. With the use of carefully crafted "facts" and "figures", we can circumvent actually having to know anything at all, and still get instant respect. (Oh, farcical English, you come through every time!) To quote Dr. Elrod Von Helman of the Society for the Advancement of Facetious and Fallacious Studies, "A plausible men employs all manner of linguistics and statistics to amaze, astound, confuse, and confound." (Now, he wouldn't lie, would he?) Thus, our English lesson is concluded. Go now into the world and prosper, secure in your newfound knowledge and respect. (All correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Von Helman c/o the society mentioned above--if you can find the address, that is!)
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Comments

  1. Marmalade's Avatar
    BRILLIANT!

    Personally, being of Marmaladian decent, I find it particularly insulting, biting, degrading, derogatory, discourteous, disparaging, disrespectful, hurtful, insolent, offensive, repulsive, ridiculing, rude, slighting and downright uncivil when people do not understand the great advances we made. Why, in the early 1800s alone....
  2. Topsy's Avatar
    PLEASE tell me you didn't have ALL that written when your blog post went awol!!!!
  3. wild_destiny's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Topsy
    PLEASE tell me you didn't have ALL that written when your blog post went awol!!!!
    I did, but it's ok. After two losses, I finally took your advice. (A smarter person would have taken it after the first loss, but I am one of those dig your heels in type, so it took me another error before I would capitulate. )
  4. wild_destiny's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Marmalade
    BRILLIANT!

    Personally, being of Marmaladian decent, I find it particularly insulting, biting, degrading, derogatory, discourteous, disparaging, disrespectful, hurtful, insolent, offensive, repulsive, ridiculing, rude, slighting and downright uncivil when people do not understand the great advances we made. Why, in the early 1800s alone....
    Hopefully one day you will get over the hurt that your people have endured for so long... Seriously, thank you. I think your signature (Marmalade) subconsciously affected me and I used it.
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