Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Scrabble Rousing

In an article that made me want to push grannies off cliffs, the Guardian announced that the rules of Scrabble are changing.  Proper nouns will now be allowed.

As an attempt to sex up Scrabble this is pathetic.  People have been playing variations on the rules for years.  For example,  Scrabble in which you are only allowed to use rude words, like 'felch' or 'spank'. Or Scrabble with French words allowed.

Until the advent of Facebook I thought that Scrabble had died a death anyway.  It always seemed to be the domain of people who have just recently learned to spell or those who thought they were awesome at the English language. 

Now that you can play online against people you don't like instead of having them pollute your living space every semi-literate baboon wants to have a go.  Except, it's not quite the same with instant access to dictionary.com.  You can be whatever you want on the internet.  You can get 84 points with the word 'quercine' but you still don't know the difference between 'there' 'they're' and 'their'.

Let's see what else gets dumbed down for mass appeal:
  • Music - We used to have Yes - Close to the Edge, now we have Justin Bieber - Close to puberty 
  • Cricket - I don't see the problem with 5 days to play a game where nobody wins.  It's meant to be complicated to keep women away.  They have their hands full making the sandwiches in the pavilion anyway. 
  • Literature - Bronte, Dickens, Cookson, we'll never see their ilk again.  Hundreds of pages of complex emotions and character building, and nothing actually happening. 
  • TV - Rockford files vs Everybody Loves Raymond.  We used to have theme tunes.  Magnum PI, the A-team, brilliant.  The only theme tune I remember now is the Big Bang Theory.  Maybe it's because I just Tivo everything and fast forward through intro's, but I don't care.  This is no place for reason, it's the internet!

Come to think of it, this whole thing is the internet's fault.  You don't even have to go anywhere to live a fulfilling social life.  Make friends on Facebook, chat all day on Twitter and score chicks on Match.com.

Have you ever played squash with someone who is world-class?  It's a waste of time, it's like he's not even moving very much and every shot is perfect meaning you'll never get a point and it's not fun anyway.

Scrabble's like that.  I would class my vocabulary in the top 5% of all English speakers, actually I'd class myself much much higher than that but I'm trying to sound modest.  But you just can't win when you play a Scrabble expert.  They know all the little tricks, the words that make no sense, like  'xis' and 'qat' and 'mut', but actually are words.  They don't give a shit that they're going against the spirit of Scrabble, which is to make impressive looking words and be ever so clever.  All they care about is victory.

When you realise you're playing someone like that, there's only one thing to do.  

Spell out 'dick'.  It's only 11 points, but it sure is satisfying.


  1. Say it ain't so! That's a very disturbing trend. Call me a snob but Scrabble to me is like the last frontier, adored by the geeks, the dorks, the smarties, the ones that get chased around and beat up on the playground, but somebody has to stay being intelligent in this anti-intellectual society. ALL proper nouns? So now Gaga is a word too? Please write yet another fantastic post when the Scrabble "committee" decides to use The Urban Dictionary as the official dictionary.

  2. Yup, all proper nouns. Disturbing is the perfect description of it. You can have Batman and Lundqvist. The distribution of letters (for English Scrabble) wasn't made for other languages. People expert in Slavic surnames are going to kick ass.

    May I say at this juncture that I find your blog to be beautifully written and all-round lovely.


  3. Hell yeah...excellent post and with a most dicktastic ending. I tried to get that added to the dictionary but they wouldn't allow it. I still use it in scrabble. Ok I lie, I don't even fucking play scrabble.

  4. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share