Simply sistahz

One by-product of the horrendous murder of Davina and Jasmine Baker, the sisters found stabbed in their beds in Stretham, is the meeting of mainstream media and Bebo, the social networking site for young teens.

Jasmine, who lived with her mother, used the site to tell Davina, who lived with her father, that all was not well at home: “Momz like why do i alwayz have to take you jasmine – why cant yur dad take you and all this bllaa bllaa bllaa.”

Their mother is, as I write, being questioned by police on suspicion of murder, so Jasmine’s words were printed in any national newspaper worth mentioning. The corrupted spelling and total absence of syntax is typical of 13-year-old girls, but it still looks strange in print.

But the part I find really striking are the messages left by well-wishers. Dannii, for instance, writes: “R..I..P..Babee. Love Yhoo .x.x. Now n alwaiiss nevaa forget thatt. Missin Yhoo Both soo muchh.”

The profoundly odd thing about Dannii’s commemorative words is that they aren’t misspelt because she is illiterate, or because they are shorthand, or even because they are phonetic. “Yhoo”, “thatt” and “muchh” aren’t improvements on the correct spellings of the words, they’re just wilfully different – as if to show that she isn’t using the language of The Man (although she is, just badly).

It makes me wonder whether she tried and failed to find misspellings of “love”, “now” and “both”, or just couldn’t be bothered.

5 Responses to “Simply sistahz”

  1. rivergirlie Says:

    mayhap the author of this touching missive was a scholar of middle english or the works of chaucer and, distressed to the point of marble loss, was unable to return from the realms of academe to the ‘here’ and ‘now’.
    just a suggestion

  2. angry reader Says:

    ohhh you are so stupid bebo is not a social networking site for chavs. This just shows how stuck up you are writting crap about how people write…who are now dead. you are not friends off the girls so fuck off there website and mind you own business you low life.

  3. pouletnoir Says:

    Dear Angry Reader,
    I meant to observe that it is strange for the form of speech used on Bebo to be replicated in conventional media because it is such a wildly different voice. You seem to think that I was being adversarial about it – pitting the chavs against the stuck-ups – but that wasn’t the point. Still, I’m not surprised by your reaction. Finding offence in blog posts and writing blandly abusive comments has become a national, and international pastime.
    As for your statement that Bebo is not a website for chavs, I feel that our definitions of the word must be different. Not everyone who uses it is a chav, but it is not a long-winded exercise to pick out a profile that contains:
    a) a photograph of a boy in a macho posture or a girl looking coquettish, and
    b) an exhaustive list of interests that aspires to nothing greater than getting wrecked on a Saturday night.
    And, finally, you self-righteously ask me to “fuck off there website”, as if I had left a comment on their page. I did not. I left their page as I found it, which is more than can be said for the little brown smear you left on mine.

  4. angry reader Says:

    Well it is none of your business to be reading other peoples websites. my point is you would do this to someone who is alive so dont do it to them just because they are dead. i am not self-rightous davina was my best friend you nob.

  5. le_poulet_noir Says:

    I am sorry for your loss. You have misinterpreted my post if you thought I lacked any respect for the dead. I thought that the word “horrendous” in the first line would make clear my attitude towards the incident itself. The rest of the post isn’t intended as a judgement on the girls, merely an observation that Bebo language looks strange in mainstream media, as I have said before.
    We are clearly not going to agree on whether it is any of my business to read a publicly available web page, but you are wrong to suggest that I would not write such a thing about people who are alive. (Indeed, the main thrust of the piece is actually on the well-wisher’s comment.)
    But I think you do have a point about describing Bebo as the “social networking site for chavs” in this context. Making that kind of social comment is inappropriate in this post, and it detracts from the point I’m trying to make. I thank you for saying so, but not for the way you said it.

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