Monday, September 22, 2008

Windows Is Shutting Down

Windows is Shutting Down

by Clive James

Windows is shutting down, and grammar are
On their last leg. So what am we to do?
A letter of complaint go just so far,
Proving the only one in step are you.

Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes.
A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad
Before they gets to where you doesnt knows
The meaning what it must be meant to had.

The meteor have hit. Extinction spread,
But evolution do not stop for that.
A mutant languages rise from the dead
And all them rules is suddenly old hat.

Too bad for we, us what has had so long
The best seat from the only game in town.
But there it am, and whom can say its wrong?
Those are the break. Windows is shutting down.

"Windows Is Shutting Down" by Clive James from Opal Sunset: Selected poems, 1958–2008. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2008.

1 comment:

Jay said...

I don't make a habit of defending Microsoft, but in this case I think the poet has erred.

Microsoft "Windows" is the name of a product. It is a singular noun. If the product was called "Fred", you wouldn't say "Fred are shutting down." "Fred is shutting down" is correct.

The author seems to be confusing "Windows" with panes of glass in a building. While the name of the product is probably a nod to those chunks of melted sand, "Windows" and "windows" are not interchangeable. The "s" on the end of "Windows" is not indicating plurality. Other clues: "Windows" is always capitalized and has a (tm) or (R) after it.

If the author had 5 computers, all running Microsoft Windows, and one central control station which shut down the other 5, then that central control station could report that "Windows are shutting down." But the authors computer powering down is only effecting a single instance of Windows. "Is" is correct.

I don't even think the various rectangles on the screen inside Windows are called windows. (Are they?) They're called "applications" or "application windows." So shutting down a computer running 5 programs is shutting down 5 application windows, but that's not what the message is referring to. The message is referring to Windows, the operating system. There's only one of those per computer.

OK, I'm sick of listening to me now. :)