Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Words" vs. "Wurds"

Variations on a Theme comes from the School of Thought that words matter. Painstakingly picking, appropriately choosing, and bravely standing behind one's words are necessary in successful and intelligent communication with your fellow (wo)man. Words are important tools in the vital art of expression. To toss away a phrase with flippant connotative disregard or textual significance is insulting to your recipient.

Don't waste your words.

That being said, Variations on a Theme also comes from the School of Thought that pronunciation and consistency matter. This is why I am vehemently opposed to society's newly-changed pronunciation of the words "Mario" and "Scorsese."

I begin.

First off, the name "Mario." My best friend in kindergarten's name was Mario. A good Italian boy. Respectful and kind, friendly and honest. Yes, Mario was referred to as "Mario." MAR rhymed with BAR and that was that. Simple and unpretentious.

Then, without warning, my world was turned upside down by an aural twist of fate. Italian-American television personalities overtook the boob tube and wanted me to change the way I pronounce this popular name. Suddenly, the likes of Extra's Mario Lopez and Real Housewives of East Coast Where Ever's boyfriends want me to pronounce "Mario" with a hard 'aye' sound. MAR, out of the blue, now rhymes with BEAR and automatically I'm the jerk for saying it wrong all these years.

WHAT THE EFF IS UP WITH THAT?!?

I continue.

Second off, the name Martin "Scorsese." An amazing New York-based film director. Innovative and captivating. Cape Fear and Casino. Two films that filled my childhood in the mid-to-late 1990's with tense nail-biting evenings and dreams of producing well-crafted art by which to always be remembered. Yes, Martin Scorsese was referred to as "Scorsese." SESE rhymed with SAY ZEE and that was that. Plain and simple.

Then, without warning, my world was turned upside down by an aural twist of fate. With the high-profile mid-2000's releases of Gangs of New York and The Departed, Hollywood wanted to change the way I pronounce this popular name. Suddenly, the talking heads want me to say "Scorsese" with a hard "eh" sound. SESE, out of the blue, now rhymes with SEZ EE and automatically I'm the jerk for saying it wrong all these years.

WHAT THE EFF IS UP WITH THAT?!?

I defend.

I did not pull the pronunciation of "MAHRio" out of thin air: I was taught it that way. Taught it by the likes of real-life Marios from my childhood. Real-life kids from our Italian-American neighborhood with strong ties to the 'old country' ... which I only can imagine smells like mothballs and spaghetti. I am not claiming ignorance or placing blame on my elder predecessors - for we all knew better - nor will I be blamed for this late inning switcheroo. I cry "FOUL!" on the whole "MAREio" debacle.

I also did not pull the pronunciation of "ScorSAYZEE" out of thin air: I was taught it that way. Taught it by the likes of Hollywood notables & film scholars from my childhood. Directors, actors, and historians with strong ties to Marty himself and his work. I am not claiming ignorance or placing blame on said notables - for we all knew better - nor will I be blamed for this late inning switcheroo. I cry "FOUL!" on the whole "ScorSEZEE" debacle.

I conclude.

As a lover of language (read: I talk too much) and frequent writer (read: I blog), those he behind Variations on a Theme respects the specific words people use to make points and express feelings. Yes, words matter, but so does pronunciation. Sure, there is a subjective nature to my aforementioned argument - the ol' tomAto/tomAHto debate comes to mind - but what Variations on a Theme does not respect is feeling tricked, duped, and finagled into thinking I've been wrong for the past 20-some years.

I was tricked.

I end.

2 comments:

Michael said...

hear, hear!

Michelle said...

"MARE-io" is a crime against nature.