A genuine miscellany this week; a grab-bag of punctuational ephemera to chew over at your leisure. First, I would draw your attention to Benjamin Samuel’s forensic, heart-breaking, and hilarious ode to the comma at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. I quote:
The comma can also be deployed to separate, organize, and distinguish objects in a list. Consider the list below:
You left behind your box set of Marlon Brando DVDs, ungraded papers, running shoes, and that preposterous Slap Chop you bought from the TV.
Similarly, a comma is needed for the following series of actions:
She had everything waiting on the kitchen counter (clearly she hoped to dispatch me quickly), but with a wave of my arm I knocked it all to the floor, then seized the Slap Chop, held its spring-assisted blades against my chest, and claimed I’d Slap-Chop my heart to pieces if she hadn’t already left it minced.
Next, Megan Garber of The Atlantic has followed up on Stan Carey’s recent blog post about the many-splendored names of the exclamation mark with an article entitled “‘Screamer,’ ‘Slammer,’ ‘Bang’ … and 15 Other Ways to Say ‘Exclamation Point’”. (I’ve done the decent thing and replaced primes with inverted commas.) Read both — Stan first, then Megan — to get the full effect. Having just done so, I find myself suffused with a desire to champion the Urban Dictionary’s entertaining “shout pole”.
Lastly, and most tangentially, Ben Eisen of the All Time Top Ten music podcast tweeted recently to ask the question: “what are the ten greatest songs (with parentheses in the title)?” He and David Daskal attempt to answer it here.
And let’s not forget, of course, that a certain book is now available for pre-order.