Independent variables

There is no safe haven for the grammar freak. On Facebook there are some “fan pages” with names like “Knowing the Difference Between There, Their, & They’re” or “Knowing the Difference Between You’re and Your” (set up by the same people, I assume), of which I did become a fan, just for fun. It’s like becoming a fan of “‘Become a fan’”: you don’t really expect anything useful out of it except a bit of occasional humor.

(I’ll leave out of this the fact that the creators of such pages should have created groups instead, and are now being investigated by Facebook because of said pages’ huge success in number of fans. Someone should create a page—well, a group—called “Knowing the Difference Between a Page and a Group on Facebook.”)

But grammar and humor are, it seems, independent variables. The page creators keep messing up, obviously on purpose, the very grammar rules they want to defend, with the only consequence of attracting comments along the lines of “I can’t believe you have a page that’s called such and such, and you still don’t know how to use the rule,” or “I hope this is a joke,” etc. Which comments, of course, prompt the exasperated counter-comments of those of us blessed with the gift of humor.

That’s Facebook: a place where, in most cases, nothing happens, and where the clash of cultural variables is never really solved. You may gather three thousand fans of good grammar, but you will end up with fifteen hundred humorless twits.