Bulletin Board: Copy-editing our Culture

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.

simplify revision
grammar slammer

This one’s for you, Deb.

I just discovered a clever column in Slate’s blog Browbeat that I will regularly be following. Copy-Editing the Culture features grammar clunkers in the cultural limelight.

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.

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