I’m legendary among my friends and readers for loathing exclamation points. I used to be an agnostic on the subject but it’s out of control in the interweb era: some folks use them like ketchup and pour them over everything. Actually, I have a cousin who used to put peanut butter on everything even my mom’s homemade moussaka. I hope he’s outgrown this disgusting habit but at least he’s from the Norwegian side of the family and those people consume shit like lutefisk and pickled herring. <shuddering>
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, an article that my friend Karen Gadbois stuck on my facebook wall:
I can still remember the pact I made with a co-worker five years ago. We began to notice an alarming increase in the number of exclamation points crammed into e-mails and text messages. False enthusiasm was giving us a headache. The English language had taken enough of a beating, and there was no need for this kind of sucker punch. We would have no part of it.
The problem was that nearly every e-mail I received ended with an overzealous “Thanks!” E-mails and texts cheerfully chimed “Can’t wait to see you!,” and I recall more than a few “How are you!” e-mails. Since when did an exclamation point wrestle a helpless question mark into submission?
The co-worker and I agreed that we would not fall prey to the trend. But I’m now ashamed to admit that I’m just as guilty as those I once chided. I’ve become a serial exclamation pointer.a
I am made of sterner stuff than the author Christopher Muther who seems to be a weak-willed, uh, mutherfucker. I know it’s a cheap pun but it was irresitible. My alternatives were Cotton Mather or Jerry Mathers jokes and I have a fuck quotient to fill…
I remain resolute in my war against promiscuous punctuation. It may not be much of a cause but it’s mine. It even figured in one of my favorite Seinfeld bits:
I’ve always liked Julia Louis-Dreyfus but I disagree with her here. And what’s up with the Swedish subtitles, he exclaimed while refusing to use an exclamation point.
Enough of this nonsense. We’ll be back tomorrow with another episode featuring Cotton Mather as the Beaver…
8 thoughts on “The exclamation point blues”
Y’all are so hilarious! (!!!) Please check out our blog, we’re less funny, but in many ways, we’re way funnier.
You’re citingSeinfeld as an authority on anything?! Hooo-kaaaay… Backaway from the television set, sir, and putdown the remote control. And no YouTube for you, either.
Please note that the digraphical punctuational diphthong used above is integral to my nature (see handle).
If Sweden is like Norway, they do not dub the dialogue in Swedish. They run the English/American show with the English dialogue and subtitle it in Swedish (or Norwegian). Dubbing the tv show is more expensive than putting on subtitles. (My college period Norwegian penpal told me that this is how Norwegians got to hear spoken English and it helped to reinforce the English they were learning in school.)
Wow, That Girl. I had no idea that Marlo Thomas read our little blog.
I prefer this clip:
@NTodd: Thanks. I’d forgotten that one. Pesky Elaine…
What is a question mark with an erection!
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