Sunday, March 3, 2013

i'm not the center of the universe, after all

So... apparently as a procrastination buffer against reading more under-edited literary analysis essays written by high-schoolers, i'm going to explore this issue:  Perhaps it is time we stopped capitalizing the first person "i."

Half the time, my students don't do it anyway.  Mostly out of the laziness of habit of never having to press the "shift" button in Microsoft Office, because usually it will auto-correct this common error.  At least, that's my theory. Most smart-phones fix it, too, and Google Drive marks the error, though it does not correct it on its own.

But perhaps "i" is a bad habit that should stay.  After all, now that we don't use Roman numerals on a regular basis, there really shouldn't be any confusion between "I" and "i" right?  I suppose there wouldn't be, even if they WERE Roman numerals.

In a sense, perhaps it makes sense to capitalize "I" since it stands in place of our own proper name when we write in first person.  However, "you" also stands in place of our addressee's proper name when we speak in second person.  Why am "I" superior to "you"(if indeed that is what capitalization implies)?  The best reason I can think of is that "I" am me and "you" are not me.  That is, "I" am intimately familiar with myself, and therefore more important to myself than "you" are.  So, why are "me," and "myself" not capitalized if "I" am so much higher priority to myself than "you" are?

Oh, so, you propose that it's because "me" and "myself" are objective cases, and "I" is the subject of a clause, which puts it in an overall more powerful position in the sentence. Therefore "me" has less power, less influence, and a lower place in the grammatical hierarchy than "I."

Okay. So why isn't "You" capitalized when it is the subject of a clause?  Ha!  The convention reveals that "you" inherently are objectified or disenfranchised when "I" am talking.  Stop interrupting!

All i'm arguing is that perhaps in a global society where we are all being forced to recognize how interdependent our lives are, "i" might let go of convention to let "you" and "them" know we all matter (or don't) equally.


2 comments:

  1. A little Latin goes a very long way!

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  2. Are you implying that I did not research this entry thoroughly? If so, then you are right. It is complete theoretical indulgence with very little actual information. And by theoretical indulgence, I mean, pseudointellectual bullshit.

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