By Jessica Chalas
Nobody really knows whether it’s “Gray” or “Grey.” But let’s put it to a test, shall we?
Once again, we Americans have gone and distinguished ourselves as a superior race, unique from all other nations that dare challenge our formidable size. And no, I am not [technically] referring to our slight obesity problem, rather our unrivaled military strength, our technological sophistication, our political ingenuity, our potent economy, and our high educational standards. (Yes, we’re still working on those last couple, but think big picture.)
So, as with our introduction of the U.S. customary measurement system in the 19th century, our defiance against the standard continued in an even more dramatic way. We alone ventured to redefine the buffer between white and black and make it something entirely new, entirely American. We changed the boring, withered grey into a vibrant, lively gray.
Who better to introduce this dynamic transformation than the literary genius himself, Oscar Wilde. His novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” may very well have started the trend, which ultimately led to a revolution of the English language. Despite the harsh criticism the novel received from our British counterparts, even then Americans knew that money was buried in scandal.
No doubt, girls in laced dresses and tight bodices swooned at the endearing, provocative Dorian Gray, while boys longed to be him. A contemporary Hercules he was, eternal and all. While Britain scoffed, we made it our mission to perpetuate his immoral rampage. In more ways than one, we succeeded, and the least we could do was show him homage by honoring his name.
But even before Dorian Gray, we redefined the barriers of modern times and took a bold step toward individuality. Our books boasted more grays than greys by the 1840s, when Wilde had not yet been born. With each year our imagination grew, and our younglings sprouting ever-more creative buds, especially within the Crayola business. When it came to crayon colors, we would not stop at gray; soon green became asparagus and brown became beaver, ultimately leading to over 120 colors other nations will never experience. We can only pity them.
Indeed, once again you Americans have gone and confused the world due only to your stubbornness and stupidity. (By the way, if I’m not mistaken, there is serious talk of you reverting back to the simplistic, rational metric system, is there not? Took almost two centuries to talk some sense into you.)
We Englishmen cannot argue against your boldness; but while you see it as an advantage, we call it audaciousness, a negative side effect of unbridled self-esteem and delusional authority. No matter – those able to correctly analyze statistical data know the truth.
However, it is appropriate perhaps to point out that Oscar Wilde and his Dorian Gray cannot contend with the epic endeavors of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Gandalf the Grey. Beyond Frodo Baggins’s pureness, Aragorn’s brawn and Legolas’s dreamy eyes, there was one so great and so vital to plotline that he alone endured not one trilogy, but two. A main character in “Lord of the Rings,” Gandalf the Grey makes an even more stunning appearance in the “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” As if there is no end to his grandiosity, he returns in “The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Battle of the Five Armies.” (That last one just came out in December, by the way.)
As “The Picture of Dorian Gray” rusts on the musty shelves of libraries, giving high-school literature students nightmares, LOTR is still regarded as one of the best fantasy/sci-fi movies ever created. The rage is as strong as ever, #OneLastTime. Gray has never and will never amount to Grey.
If even popular culture cannot convince your kind, perhaps something you can understand is man’s best friend. [Without regard to culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, political affiliation, place of birth, biological traits, past experiences, personal beliefs or favorite pastimes] there is only one spelling for a particularly majestic dog breed: the greyhound. And there you have it.