If you're a proud grammar snob, the leftwing Guardian's Mona Chalabi wants you to know that you're simply a wealthy, white racist trying to silence minority voices like hers in order to maintain your wealthy, white, racist power imbalance.
In the short video above, Chalabi attempts to suggest that grammar rules don't even exist in the real world, only in the condescending minds of wealthy, white racists.
She acknowledges the "grammar snob's" argument that everyone needs a common set of rules that everyone can understand, but attempts to rebut this by saying such rules aren't commonly held at all -- "they're just their rules." This is the linguistic equivalent of the left's argument that morality itself is just an arbitrary construct; it is typical of their relentless assault on standards of any kind in order to deconstruct and delegitimize Western culture.
She attempts to demonstrate this by pointing out that the words "literally" and "figuratively" are becoming interchangeable in common usage (which is sadly true) and therefore "some Elizabethan definition of correctness" about them is meaningless and outdated. The fact is that if you use those two antonyms interchangeably, it does matter, because you are diluting the meaning of your statement and creating confusion in the minds of your readers or listeners.
Chalabi claims that there is no confusion about those or other commonly interchangeable terms like "less" and "fewer," because everyone knows what you mean even when you get them wrong. As a former English teacher (and current white, albeit not wealthy, grammar snob), I can tell you that this is a common excuse: "But you know what I meant." On the contrary, if you want people to know what you mean, it is crucial to strive for precision of language and grammar; a habit of imprecision leads to breakdowns of communication.
"It doesn't take much to see the power imbalance in grammar snobbery," she continues, getting to the crux of her argument. "The people pointing out those mistakes are more likely to be older, wealthier, white, or just plain academic than the people they're treating with condescension. All too often, it's a way to silence people, and that's particularly offensive when it's someone who might already be struggling to speak up."
Chalabi wants you to believe that minorities today are "struggling to speak up," which is laughably untrue. Minority voices like hers have never been so prominent or encouraged in the publishing world and broadcast media. She also wants you to believe that wealthy white people invented and insist on adherence to the rules of the English language to keep minorities silenced, when in fact those rules exist and are taught (or used to be taught) to enable everyone, including minorities, to express themselves as clearly and effectively as possible. Every language -- not just English -- has grammar rules. Without abiding by those rules, language -- and therefore meaning -- is gradually degraded and our ability to communicate with one another degrades as well.
"We should spend more time listening to what others have to say," she concludes, "and less focusing on the grammar what they say it with." I'll just leave that right there.
What Chalabi is ignoring in order to push her radical agenda is that what silences people is pretending grammar and language don't matter -- or worse, pretending that they shouldn't matter because they're only the arbitrary tools of white oppression. Yes, language evolves (although that's not always a good thing), but the rules of grammar and language are critical for everyone to share meaning and be understood as precisely as possible. If we don't strive to adhere to them, human communication will all ultimately devolve into the nonsense of Babel.
Language, grammar, definition, spelling -- these are the messy and shifting but ingenious constructs human beings have created in order to communicate and understand each other better. They aren't maliciously intended to keep some people down; they are intended to draw us all closer. It is the radical left -- Mona Chalabi among them -- not mythical white grammar oppressors, who want to undermine those constructs and manipulate them for political purposes.