Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Grammatically Incorrect Graffiti Underscores Need For Stronger Focus On Syntax In English Classes At LAUSD Schools

By Charlotte Rudnick, Quilt staff


A series of spray-painted messages found along Strathern Street and Alabama Avenue, in Canoga Park’s industrial Strathabama neighborhood, is being regarded as a “much-needed wakeup call” among the area’s teaching professionals.

Initially "Prump Fuck," the artist went over the T numerous times to correct his error on this
apartment's garage on Strathern Street. Multiple exclamation points are a bold choice!!! Staff photo.
The graffiti, which reads “Trump Fuck!!!,” can be seen on an apartment building, the wall enclosing a parking lot and other privately-owned buildings, is presumed to be the work of an unknown former Los Angeles Unified School District student or students. 

“It’s extremeling disturby,” notes Betty Winslow, who teaches AP English at Canoga Park High School. “It’s clearly we’re going to has to work very harder to reachify these kids before they drop ou—  ...er, before they graduating.”

A near-matching pair of Trump Fucks bookend the wall surrounding a private parking lot. 
According to LAUSD-approved textbooks on traditional grammar and English usage, in basic sentence structure, the subject “Trump” would come before the predicate — here, “fuck.” However, in this case, such a sentence  — constructed properly as “Fuck Trump” — would be an indirect directive using an implied reflexive pronoun with the subject and verb reversed.

 A big, audacious Trump Fuck. By choosing a contrasting color for the background, in this case a white
expanse of wall recently repainted to cover previous tagging, the artist's message stands out clearly.
Expressed syntactically or not, the vandalism has sent a powerful message to the community. Blythe Street resident and former Canoga Park High junior Radek Murta, who was in the vicinity of the graffiti, crouching down alongside his car with a can of black Krylon “uh...just touching up...my, uh, tires, yo,” described the writings as “like, important because of, like, freedom an’ shit...? An’ like empower an’ shit...? An’ like...um...you know, like um, society an’ shit...?” 

Havemeyer.  Photo: LAUSD
Most agree that such ideals as these, dramatically illustrated by the painted messages, are almost as valuable as the time, materials and labor necessary to eradicate the inspiring defacements, plus the potential cost of added security to prevent future thought-provoking commentary — all costs which will be proudly borne by the property owners whose structures were so affected. 

Yet some are not so easily swayed. 

“I don’t care what the so-called message is,” declares Dr. Ernest B. Havemeyer, superintendistrator of LAUSD’s West Valley district. “This graffiti is absolutely unacceptable.

“Backwards phrasing, horrendous punctuation, and sloppy spraypaintmanship — dear God, I hope this isn't one of our kids. It’s poor performance like this that’ll cost us even more federal funding.”

No comments:

Post a Comment