YTPrenewed wrote:If anything, fashion police and grammar police are opposites.
Fashion police are putting their views on style ahead of pragmatism. The time and money spent on things that are considered fashionable can come at the expense of more practical things. (Not to say there can't be value in wearing them on special occasions from time to time, but jobs that make a suit and tie the norm are pushing it.)
Grammar police, on the other hand, are defending something much more pragmatic. Improper grammar; if you let it become a habit; has plenty of potential for causing misunderstandings. The rules of grammar help make it a little more obvious who to blame for such misunderstandings.
As for the racial angle, it wouldn't surprise me if some ethnic groups associated with poverty correlated with a poor education in grammar. However, this doesn't require you to choose between blaming grammar and blaming that ethnic group. And I suppose it's possible that other ethnic groups associated with having a first language that isn't English could be associated with poor grammar as well. Again, though, that wouldn't make it a problem with grammar, but rather with the circumstances said group is in.
Though given the amount of improper grammar even among middle-class white people, I'm not sure we should assume either of the above.
I can argue the exact opposite!
Proper grammar rules are rarely pragmatic. No significant (unintended) confusion is ever caused by the passive voice, or a split infinitive, or ending a sentence in a proposition.
Let's take my boss. People pay hundreds of dollars an hour to have him advise them on things that could affect millions of dollars. When he gets dressed, it's incredibly important that the clothes he wears presents an air of someone who is a Big Deal, knows and has money, and cares about his presentation. If he went out and bought a suit straight of the rack at Men's Wearhouse, people would notice. He would be presenting himself in a manner that isn't befitting his role or what the client expects of him.
On the other hand, I'm not sure he could pass a 9th grade English grammar test. Because if a client sends him an email to ask a quick question, they don't really care if he makes some grammar mistake. Extra commas aren't going to bother them that much. Frequently, the emails he gets are worse. And when he's communicating in office, he barely tries. Today I got an email: "u set up a meeting w/ ******** at T 330? thx rach" It doesn't matter in the least. I can understand it, he knows I can. And if he needs to write something more professional, then he has me for that. I would freak the hell out if he ever sent a letter without dictating it to me or someone else.
Strict fashion is far more useful than strict grammar. With good fashion sense, it's virtually impossible to commit a serious error that causes a social or professional problem, and you can quite easily increase your social or professional advantages in a public setting. Proper English grammar (and the grammar of any actual language) still has an enormous amount of room for mistakes, ambiguities, and missteps.
The big mistake of both grammar and fashion police is missing a broader point of language and dress. Both are incredible ways of expressing oneself, and both have vast subtleties and are a complex mix of function, emotion, and aesthetics. If dress were simple practicality, we'd all wear jumpsuits. (Oppa Pyongyang Style), and if language was, we'd all speak Lojban. Instead, dress, and language allow us ways to express ourselves. Sometimes that includes breaking the rules. Dropping a double negative or splitting an infinitive can make a sentence so much better, just as mixing prints can make you stand out in a good way.