Friday, July 14, 2006


Just a quick note:

Eliezer from Capetown writes that I've been perhaps a bit too liberal lately with my use of exclamation points in post titles. He is considering whether or not to back me as World Hegemon, and he fears that a Phutatorian Regime might go on a punctuational rampage and pollute the landscape with unwarranted marks of emphasis.

I think this is a fair criticism. After all, imagine how gaudy Las Vegas would become, if you added [!] to all the neon signs and billboards!!

Though I expect to delegate the matter to an Official Aesthetician —

Aesthete! PePe just shouted from the other room (but I think he's wrong on this one).

— you can expect I'll be hands-on with regard to any legislation involving punctuation in signage.

To Mr. Eliezer's second point — about how overuse of the exclamation point results in a devaluation of emphasis — I say this: there are plenty of excess exclamation points floating around out there, just waiting to be put to meaningful use.

Why, as it happens, a great deal of the World Population speaks Spanish, and Spanish-speakers double up on this commodity in their writings, putting the inverted ! or ¡ (as it appears) at the beginning of each excited utterance that they commit to the printed page. If necessary, I can simply place an embargo on this practice, requisition the excess ¡s from Latin America, Spain, and the Philippines, and turn them right-side up for deployment as necessary to convey the strength of my conviction in official proclamations.

So even if I need to serve up two, three, or even four exclamation points to express my will to the public, I should have plenty of reserves at my disposal.

Thanks for writing, Eliezer. It was worth taking the time to think this matter through, and I really do appreciate the aesthetic point you made about my punctuation, even if I find your economic worry a bit overblown.

As to Yentl from Glasgow and her complaint about my predilection for dashes — she can go to h—, that g—d— f— ———-kissing horse-faced b—.

(Bet you like my dashes now, lassie, now that I've confronted you with a brutal alternative . . .)

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