Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Gloves Come off,

You find yourself nodding agreement at the ongoing celebration of the Internet, reaching its affect into our daily lives like the gloved hand of a food handler or sanitation worker.  You are aware of the Internet's presence, to some degree antiseptic, reaching for greater connectivity while preserving our security from invasion from sources of mischievous intent.

Beyond metaphor for the sake of illustration, the plastics technology that enables more gloves to be made even more recyclable and prevalent than they are now spreads into our awareness and very being like the hands of the various specialists who examine our reproductive and digestive processes.

Gloves are more prevalent than cell phones, ubiquitous, creeping upon us as the forest advanced in Macbeth's tortured visions.  Even our language uses gloves called euphemisms, lest the language offend, but in some particular cases because the language has not by implication offended or caused enough fear and confusion.

One language glove you wish to point out goes by its formal name, the adverb, under which passport it travels forth among sentences and paragraphs seeking to modify, by your understanding, any other part of speech except a noun.  Many adverbs call themselves to our attention by their -ly endings; other adverbs are more sly, for instance who would suspect so of adverbial intent?  When you think about it, what else could so be?  I am so not going to use that locution.  I am so over it.  And, as Kurt Vonnegut was wont to say, so it goes.

Your particular focus this time is on the adverb brought in off the street like a day laborer, thinking to prop up a lazy verb by offering a sign post of intent when the user doesn't trust the real culprit in the first place.  A more descriptive verb could be brought in as a last-minute substitute.  If the work at hand is fiction or perhaps traipses over into history or memoir, verbs with more visual credentials help inject a sense of immediacy and drama into the narrative, reminding us of the power of the ungloved word to evoke a presence, perhaps even an era or landscape, mayhap even an ethnicity.

Adverbs clutter sentences with the detritus of unresolved meanings.  While it is quite proper to evoke and imply in most types of text material, it is a truth often recognized that such tropes as sadly, menacingly, disinterestedly and the like are more like a relic often found in a super market shopping cart, a shopping list which isn't your own.

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