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The Essay
Show #126
Suffixic Perturbation
David Gunn
It has been postulated by persons in suits who are known to be completely out of touch with reality but who are nevertheless paid enormous sums of money by multinational corporate entities with no reason to exist other than to justify their own existence to make up things that in the world language of the future, all suffixes will be forbidden. All annoying adverbial attachments and adjectivic appendages will officially disappear from use in an effort to streamline and facilitate speech, making it readily accessible to the lowest common vocal denominator. While speech may no longer be free, and may even cost a quarter or more in linguistical areas of high syllablic content, the banishment of unnecessarily provocative locutional adjuncts to the jargon of the past will help pave the way for the emergence of an easy-to-learn global vernacular -- an Esperanto for the 21st century -- that will dialectically attach the farthest flung community to a single common speech where a radio is always a radio, a cleveland is always a cleveland, and "Hi, how ya doin?" is always "flambeau le oriange." These suited postulators have further proposed that, in order to guard against, for them, counterintuitive word intervention and clause dependency, it may be necessary to extend this dumbing down process to the world of music ... specifically, lyrics.

In recent years, lyrics fraught with suffixial addenda have become the bane of listeners who pine for the simpler days when music and words were two distinct and frequently adversarial forms of communication. In early performances of opera, notably those that started before 9am, highly suffixed lyrics were sometimes torn right from the lips of the offending singers by outraged though misguided audients, who then, depending upon the operatic venue, either burned them at the stake (as in Joan of Arc), hung them from the yardarm (as in Pirates of Penzance), or tossed them in the path of a charging Valkyrie (as in Tosca). During the heyday of Tin Pan Alley, open hostility towards the clever word and music collaboration forced many nervous songwriters to mark the lyric suffixes "optional," often discombobulating the meter by a factor of three-quarters. Eventually, suffixic perturbation led to antagonism towards lyrics in general, and songwriters took to writing their accompanying words on pages separate from the tunes, a practice which gave rise to a whole new school of contemporary composition, the name of which escapes me. It must be important, though, because without it, there would appear to be scant reason for going on for so long about it on this, the 126th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, whose own forays into the realm of lyricality rarely extend to the melodies themselves, as harmless harmonical passages are better left for the commercially indebted radiophonic outlets to air. For the time being, your current hosts will continue to forestall the take-over of this humble communications medium by the suited persuaders of monotony, but the time will come when we, too, will seem to lose our appreciation of wordal appendages. At that time, dear listener, not all will be lost, because presumably we will at last be privy to large, welcome remunerations for our actions, and isn't that what conforming to societal constants is all about? Kalvos?

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