Phineas Downey, leader of the self-proclaimed “Deeder” group, whose failed lawuit seeking to force President Obama to show proof that he has a right to live in the White House was thrown out of court last month, has found a new cause. He wants to make poor spelling, grammar and internet and texting shorthand fineable offenses.
He has started a petition that would begin with forcing Facebook to deactivate a member’s account if they write “alot,” “your welcome,” “to cute,” “there house,” and other “equally heynous (sic) crimes against the English language.” He’s trying to make “LOL” be redacted unless the member who posted that was indeed actually laughing out loud.
“I talk good,” Downey said, “me and my wife both talk proper. It don’t seem right that people can’t take the time they ought to to press them buttons the right way, instead of using them ’emoticon’ buttons and that ‘LOL’ nonsense. What is that?”
Downey is also trying to get legislature passed that would make it a misdemeanor for people to use text or IM shorthand like “BRB,” “BTW,” “IMO,” and “LMAO.” He said he understands that most of the offenders are teenagers or pre-teens who communicate using “that slang,” but he fears if it’s not “nipped in the butt now, they’ll all grow up to be criminals who talk like morons.”
Similar to his uphill battle in seeking support for his Deeder movement, Downey has yet to get any lawmaker to get behind his proposal to fine poor grammar and internet communication shortcuts.
Downey admits he himself doesn’t text, Tweet or have a Facebook page. But he says he has news stories read to him all the time that talk about how poorly young people’s communications skills have become, and it sickens him.
“I may not have proved that Obama don’t have a right to live where he does,” Downey said. “But I can still make sure that our country ain’t filled with idiots who can’t spell or talk right. This is America! Talk right or go home. Or to school, or whatever.”
Susan Fischialetti contributed to this article