Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Anti-Intellectualism 101: The Acronym

I guess it's moot for me to say that Joel Rubinovich lost my vote when, on my way to the St. Clair West subway station, I was handed this:

Moot because he never had my vote in the first place. I've never even heard of the guy. But neither, so far as I can tell, has anybody else. He has no website and, apparently, he has no platform--short of the imperative (printed on the reverse side of the above two-sided leaflet) to "STOP St. Clair In It's [sic] Tracks." (The "STOP" is in big red letters--implying great urgency, don't you know.) By which I take it that he means to stop the (ongoing) construction of a dedicated streetcar lane there.

But the merits and demerits of this streetcar business aren't my concern. Even if I did have a strong view of the matter, Joel would've lost my V.O.T.E. anyway. For the very reason that he thought it would be, what? cute? clever? hard-hitting but still straightforward? to turn a regular word with a clear meaning into this ridiculous acronym-acrostic-thing: Voice Of Toronto's Electors.

It seems to me that the man has come damnsome close to achieving the impossible here: he has managed simultaneously to over-complicate and crudely simplify. I mean, was the concern that, come election day, we would forget what we had to do? Rhymes with boat, Martha, I know that much. It's a verb, and today's the day that were s'posed to do it. Whatever it is. The word has a really clear meaning, Joel! This is hardly a Never Eat Shredded Wheat situation! (Mnemonic, strictly speaking, but you take my meaning.) What on earth were you thinking, filling all that space with something so inane and pointless?!

But perhaps there is the hint of soon-to-be-proposed reforms (from Joel's eventual provincial leadership campaign) to be gleaned from this. Just imagine! Curricula that require sentences that look like Scrabble boards. Novellas (the lives of average, saucepan-faced girls, coming of age on the Prairies) of close to 10,000 pages!

Still. This acronym business isn't as simple as it looks ... I thought I'd be really cheeky and come up with one of my own, but this was the best I could do:

Not really an acronym, is it ... Well, a Joel-calibre B.R.A.I.N. teaser, then. Ha!