txt spk • 2 June 2007 • The SnowBlog

txt spk

What would you say if I told you about a satirical story in which even academic essays were written in a phonetic language rather similar to the one the youth of today use when texting each other. Hardly biting satire, I suppose. I mean you hear about kids using 'txt spk' in schoolwork, so it's not the most inspired satirical leap to have teachers and academics using it too. Mind you, if I say that the story was published in 1912, that might make it a little more impressive. Perhaps you know Max Beerbohm's story Enoch Soames? It includes a trip into the future to the year 1997 to the Reading Room of the British Museum, where apparently, even in that distant era, you're still not allowed to smoke. In case you want to read it, I've fetched the text from Project Gutenberg and packaged it as a pdf.

Click to download pdf

I don't know much about proper literature, but Soames and Baudelaire seem to have a few things in common. The satanism and the similarity between naming your book of poems 'Les Fleurs du Mal' compared with Soames's poisonous 'Fungoids'. Am I going to have to face the fact that there's a whole additional level of satire going on here that I'm not going to get? Sigh.


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