Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lip Service

A good many linguists posit that human beings enjoy a unique capacity for language that occurs innately in all of us, unless of course you were born with severe head trauma, with Shacklesburger Syndrome (no lips and a nun fetish), or born President of the United States (yes, there are those who are, in fact, born president. It is largely known that William Howard Taft was our fattest president. But, it is less widely known that Bill Clinton was our fattest baby president and had to be removed from his mother by catapult in utero, which is Latin for "up her vadge" or is somewhere around Montego Bay). Needless to say, one's consumption and understanding of language is fascinating. Even more fascinating and enraging is the phenomenon known fictitiously as Flappengummen Syndrome, or "Ol' Ghost Lips," in which a subject processing any given language is compelled to move his lips while reading. Now, I've observed TWICE within the last two days people moving their lips while reading on the subway. And I'm not talking a subtle flutter of labial excitement, like a nervous hummingbird jerking off a wasp. I'm talking a cartoonishly exaggerated labial pantomime akin to what one might do when signaling to another person across the room that their balls are on fire or that his or her grandfather is secretly a vampire.

It is not possible to look more ridiculous than when one is moving his lips while reading. Even if he were putting sound to the movements and actually READING OUT LOUD, it wouldn't be as startling or worthy of a baseball bat to the mouth. Scientists have a long list of explanations regarding this phenomenon, but I don't give a shit. I find it distracting when, out of the corner of my eye, I see what appears to be a silent, puckering asshole opening and closing in space. And when, full of hope and wonder, I turn to look only to be rewarded with some douchebag whose mouth looks like an epileptic sea anemone, I tend to get a little angry.

Or people could stop reading. But they've almost achieved that anyway.


DaveyJones said...

When a ventriloquist reads the paper, does the puppet's lips move?

Hackett said...

What about ipoders? Do you meet their silent lip-synching with the same level of acrimony?

Gabe said...

I think the ventriloquist would be retarded but the dummy would be of average intelligence.

iPodders, on the other hand, are sneaky devils. Some may be learning Spanish. Some may be listening to an old timey radio drama, which encouraged talk-back. Others are douches.