Back in the days when I edited Writing for Teens (may it RIP) magazine, we featured a regular column called “Grammar Slammer” which was written by my fabulous editor Debbie Nevins.
This one’s for you, Deb.
I was especially amused by The Rise and Fall of Woody Allen, as Experienced Through Punctuation
of his movie titles:
After the apprentice effort What’s New Pussycat? (missing, like the song it references, a direct-address comma), Allen redeemed himself and reached some measure of creative maturity with What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, a charming and, more to the point, brilliantly punctuated feature. From there, he was borne forward on a wave of good comma-ic energy. The year 1972 brought another direct-address victory in Play It Again, Sam, shortly followed by the creatively but rigorously punctuated Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex*/ *But Were Afraid To Ask. From there, the triumphs of Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Crimes and Misdemeanors, all beautifully and necessarily unpunctuated, seemed inevitable.
I love this stuff. Makes me feel a bit better when I walk down the street and want to copy-edit food cart signs.