Spelling rage

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Jesse Sheidlower points out a "VERY strongly worded spelling/punctuation rant", to be found here.

(Unless you have a very large screen, you'll want to use "right-click>>Open link in new window", or maybe try this link instead. Warning: some NSFW text in VERY large type…)

This seems to reach rage-o-meter values not seen since the "pilotless drone" episode.

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48 Comments »

  1. Sili said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    Y so srs?

  2. S. Mills said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:08 am

    Is the absence of a question mark at the end of "WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU" ironic?

  3. Joanne said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    Whoa! Prescriptive vitriol! Leaves me with a very bad feeling, actually. Uh-oh, that was a sentence fragment!

  4. Spell Me Jeff said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:28 am

    Silly me, didn't know what NSFW meant. Opened the image, and Boom! a student walks into my office. I've since looked up the acronym. An ironic lapse, given the context.

  5. Amy West said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:29 am

    I'm wondering if this is attempting to, er, "appeal" the audience by appropriating the coarse and abusive language of the "too cool/tough for grammar" social class. And design has obviously been put to good use: the "chorus" phrase, if you will, is shown the same way throughout; and color and fonts are being used as visual clues for distinctions, similarities, and emphasis. Yep, seems full of rage, but frankly it seems so over the top it seems more put on to me.

  6. anon said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:38 am

    Since apostrophes are put in places where letters are omitted, would the creator accept "Y' 'r' 'u …"?

  7. Julia said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    The 'GQ Motherfucker' references indicate that it's a variation of a meme known as 'aidsvertising' from the now-defunct website that spawned it, examples of which can also be seen here and here , and many other places. This page attempts an explanation of its popularity. So while there is no doubt some genuine annoyance involved in the creation of this post, it's mainly just another example of a wider genre of over-the-top advertising of a favorite food/product/political candidate/actor. (All links are just as NSFW, of course.)

  8. Craig Russell said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    This is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. I mean, obviously the poster really is annoyed by the phenomena he describes, but it seems obvious that the level of rage is carefully manufactured to produce a specific humorous effect. This over-the-top level of anger, condescension and self-confidence is a popular persona for th' young people to take on; for more examples, check out:

    http://maddox.xmission.com/

  9. Nick Lamb said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:55 am

    Well we all have to rage about something. http://i.imgur.com/HL1ZR.jpg is a JPEG. JPEG is for naturalistic images (specifically, photographs) and this is not a photograph. You see how all the big letters are kind of messed up, as though the person drawing them ran out of one colour of felt tip pen and had to use a different one? That's JPEG compression, it would be hardly noticeable if this was a tiger against a background of vegetation, or a child with a bucket and spade, but for a red letter Y on a flat white background it leaps out and distracts the viewer. So, in the same way that a careful writer knows "than" from "then", a careful image crafter should know to use PNG for such images, not JPEG.

    tl;dr: noob used JPG for wall of txt, l2internet!

  10. David R said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    Heh, I feel compelled to point out their typo:

    "The curvy little bastard has such a hot rounded little ass that you always want to put a space after him when you use him a sentence."

  11. Army1987 said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    I agree with Craig Russell. They can't be totally serious, can they?

  12. Doreen said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    Well, I did a LOL.

  13. Julia said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

    (reposting for html fail)

    The 'GQ Motherfucker' references indicate that it's a variation of a meme known as 'aidsvertising' from the now-defunct website that spawned it, examples of which can also be seen here and here, and many other places. This page attempts an explanation of its popularity. So while there is no doubt some genuine annoyance involved in the creation of this post, it's mainly just another example of a wider genre of over-the-top advertising of a favorite food/product/political candidate/actor. (All links are just as NSFW, of course.)

  14. Erik said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

    I'm more interested in the usage of the phrase "took the hell out of dodge". It feels like they were writing "took out", decided to insert an expletive, and then the phrase "the hell out" naturally grew into "the hell out of dodge".

    A quick search of the Corpus of Contemporary American English turns up plenty of hits for "get/got/getting the hell/fuck out of dodge" and one each for "stay the hell" and "stampede the fuck". I was able to find examples via Google using run, keep, fly, etc. While I can search Google for "* the * out of dodge", I don't know a good way to extract the most popular ways to fill in those *s.

  15. Elizabeth said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    Thirding Craig Russell's comment: the gratuitous cursing and SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS are a deliberate, humorous effect.

    That said, I love "An apostrophe doesn't mean 'Look out, here come's an S.'" I'm totally going to start using that one.

  16. Julia said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    @S. Mills: I have been meaning to suggest the 'lack of question mark as a way of indicating emphasis' meme to the LL team for some time, as I've seen it more and more over the past couple of years. Of course, I don't have examples to hand, but see for instance the third comic down on this page – first two questions with question marks, third without. Actually, Kate Beaton does it in a lot of her comics. Several of the other 'aidsvertising' examples in the posts I previously linked also contain similar punctuationless statements, so I believe it's deliberate, not ironic. I'm also thinking of the frequent (at least in my circles) internet interjection of "WHAT." to express shock/amazement (greater, to my mind, than "WHAT?") I think I'll start making note of these instances as I see them…

  17. Chandra said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

    Should I feel bad that I found that really funny? Especially the apostrophe part. "Look out, here come's an S!"

  18. Sprizouse said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

    This thing suffers from Muphry's Law (not Murphy's Law).

    Muphry's Law clearly states that when someone is correcting grammar, punctuation or spelling they'll inevitably have a grammar, punctuation or spelling error in their critique.

    Case in point, when talking about commas: "…you always want to put a space after him when you use him a sentence."

    That sentence is missing the word 'in'.

  19. Sili said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    I think comma's a pretty cool guy, breaks clauses and doesn't afraid of anything

    (I'm sooooooo sorry.)

  20. Spell Me Jeff said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    I almost invented Aidsvertising. Back in the 80's, when I was in grad school, Chicago held a contest for a new city motto. My entry,

    Chicago: A great fucking city

    was inexplicably overlooked.

  21. Stephen Nicholson said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

    I was a raidoman in the Navy. This guy would have had a fit over the way those messages were written. I wonder if people who hate the use of u, r, and y for you, are, and why would have a problem with Q and Z signals and other radio shorthand?

  22. Milton Buckles Fishpants the Queen of Far Bombay said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

    Who puts a space before commas? And what does "protip dumbshit: you probably want than" mean?

  23. Stephen Jones said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

    What I like is when he uses one comma correctly, before 'you retard', but deliberately doesn't use one afterwards.

    A class piece of writing.

  24. Stephen Jones said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    Leaves me with a very bad feeling, actually. Uh-oh, that was a sentence fragment!

    Nope. Merely proof that the null sentence parameter is flexible in English.

  25. Josh said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    Queen Fishpants,

    A polite translation would be:

    "Professional advice, my grammatically challenged friend: if you are unsure whether to use 'then' or 'than', you will more than likely want to use 'than'."

  26. D.O. said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

    If this rant were my sole piece of punctuation info, I would be seriously entertaining to take fucking apostrophe literally. I mean, all examples expanding apostrophe include the intensifier. Like, you're = you fucking are.

  27. Frans said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    Nobody seems to have noticed the failure of the author to spell Down's with an apostrophe near the end in "You're more retarded than a dog with Downs [sic], and I hate you." Admittedly, I don't think fucking possessives were mentioned in the section on fucking apostrophes, but I found the irony mildly amusing.

    As for protip, D.O. already said it, but you can find more usage notes on Urban Dictionary.

  28. Frans said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    Sorry, that would be Josh. I also should rephrase that; protip: utilize Urban Dictionary if you don't know the meaning of a certain piece of online lingo.

  29. IrrationalPoint said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    Frans:

    Actually, Down('s)/(s) isn't always spelled with an apostrophe, and the s also seems to be more or less optional (but obviously, if you use an apostrophe, then you must use an s!).

    Tangentially: I guess I forget how much of a social justice bubble I sometimes move in — a point which is rather emphasised by being presented with quite so many instances of the word "retarded" so close together. I don't think I'd seen something quite that, ahem, emphatic since grade school.

    –IP

  30. Nathan Myers said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

    Any citation that relies on Kate Beaton automatically wins.

    Does it matter that dogs downt get Down's syndrome, because it's caused by an extra chromosome they haven't got?

  31. Bruce said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    Erik said, [March 30, 2010 @ 12:33 pm]: 'I'm more interested in the usage of the phrase "took the hell out of dodge". It feels like they were writing "took out", decided to insert an expletive, and then the phrase "the hell out" naturally grew into "the hell out of dodge".'

    I think it's "take off from [location]", converted to the past tense form "took off from [location]", then smushed into "the hell out of dodge"

  32. John S. Wilkins said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

    "God damn" is two words. What is f***ing wrong with him?

  33. Corey B. said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

    Wow. Um, I, uh….
    There's… a lot of anger there! Much of it directed at texting conventions, not merely grammatical considerations. And a lot of angst over punctuation.
    I definitely enjoyed the creative use of fonts in the rant… I honestly have never felt the true impact of "Impact" until now. I can actually sense the impact of each letter, deep into my skull, through the back of my eyeballs. (Slowed down, perhaps, by those handy little commas, like train brakes. :)

  34. Áine ní Dhonnchadha said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    I was reading the earlier article – "Pilotless Droneplane" – and it noted that the situation of Bernstein recording the Podcast was like that of the president recording the White House voicemail message.

    HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE? "Hello, I'm Barack Obama, and you've reached the White House."

    Off-topic, I know, but… huzzah.

  35. Frans said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 3:04 am

    @IrrationalPoint:

    Actually, Down('s)/(s) isn't always spelled with an apostrophe, and the s also seems to be more or less optional (but obviously, if you use an apostrophe, then you must use an s!).

    Really? I'm aware that it can be either Down syndrome or Down's syndrome, but saying someone has Downs rather than Down's seems wrong. Is Parkinsons also acceptable? Creutzfeldt–Jakobs? Is this an exception that snuck into usage because the link with John Down isn't known or perceived? In the latter case, it seems strange that an uppercase letter is still used.

    I tried to get some kind of vague notion of possible usage with Google, but it cleverly also included at least some "Down's" whenever I tried to search for anything with "Downs", although "Down's" seemed more likely to include "syndrome" as well. My unfounded temporary conclusion is that anything American seemed to go for "Down syndrome" whereas British sources seemed to go for both "Down syndrome" and "Down's syndrome", though mostly the latter. Just "Down's" or "Downs" seemed to be used almost exclusively on forums, which I suppose is no surprise. I got the most usable results with "a child with down(')(s)" but of course you should interpret everything I just said as unfounded opinion based on improper research on a negligible sample.

    Besides which, if the author were to defend "Downs" with popular usage, wouldn't the same argument extend to everything they argue against?

  36. IrrationalPoint said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 7:54 am

    Besides which, if the author were to defend "Downs" with popular usage, wouldn't the same argument extend to everything they argue against?

    Yes, it's quite true that my criterion for "acceptability" is rather different from the author's. My claim is more accurately worded: "Down", "Downs", and "Down's" all seem to be in routine use by (some) people who know what they're talking about, and you're right that that's not really proper research. I've not seen "Parkinsons" to the same extent.

    –IP

  37. Dean said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    Supporting Julia, Craig Russel, et al. above:

    The rage is not serious.

    See also these strips featuring 'Period and the Bad Boys of Punctuation' from the popular webcomic Penny Arcade:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/archive/?q=period&x=0&y=0

  38. Alex said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 10:17 am

    I find the idea of the rage actually quite funny but I am annoyed by the fact that it seems to be addressed at a woman (the addressee is always called a whore, bitch or cunt), as if the whole spelling thing was predominantly a female problem. I knew that Cunt can be used to abuse both genders, but what about "whore" and "bitch"?

  39. Rob P. said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 11:09 am

    Re: Down vs. Down's

    http://www.ndss.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=84

  40. Skullturf Q. Beavispants said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 11:21 am

    I don't think it's addressed at a woman per se; I think there's a (recent?) tendency to use "bitch" as an insult that can be directed at either men or women. However, the very fact that the word "bitch" can be used in such a way is a little unsettling, and may be indicative of something.

  41. kip said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    > "It's" means "it fucking is", as in "it's amazing how fucking stupid you are." Look, the fucking apostrophe is standing in for the shit you took out… "Its" means "belonging to it"

    This one always bothered me as a kid. Teachers gave the same basic explanation, only without the profanity. But an apostrophe doesn't just mean something was taken out. It can also mean possession. For example, "Bob's" means "belonging to Bob." So applying the same rule should yield "it's" means "belonging to it." Of course it doesn't, because possessive *pronouns* don't have apostrophes for some reason. But for some reason my grade school teachers never seemed to explain that, they just said "'its' is not a contraction, so don't use an apostrophe." I was very frustrated until I figured out the possessive pronoun part on my own. I'm still bitter that I didn't have better teachers.

  42. kip said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    @Alex: I read the whole thing and never once thought that it was directed at a woman.

  43. Theodore said,

    March 31, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

    A bit late to the party, but:

    @D.O. I noticed the apostrophe-as-identifier concept too. Reminds me of my first Russian course when it occurred to me that "же" really means "the hell" and I wished English had something so nice. I've been using it all along!

    I was disappointed the author of HL1ZR didn't address my comma-related peeve, the fairly recent phenomenon of "commas of ellipsis".

    Neil Steinberg suggests in today's column that anger is "having a renaissance." Is it really, or is it just the latest kind of "trouble with kids these days" ?

  44. Doreen said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 5:13 am

    @ Julia — thanks for posting the aidsvertising links. The LeVar Burton one is a hoot!

    I was all, LOL WUT.

  45. Frans said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    @Alex: Most people from Chicagoland I know freely throw the words whore and bitch around at everyone and everything: for example for being bumped off the road in a racing game. Cunt seems mostly reserved for actual road rage at women and would thus be relatively gender-specific. In any case, I didn't have the impression that the rant was directed at women nor did the thought even cross my mind. Similarly, words like dick or prick can just as easily apply to women as they can to men.

    @Rob P: Thanks for the link, which offers a reasonable-sounding explanation as far as syndromes go. Down seems to be the exception in that it's also referred to as Down's syndrome in the UK. Nevertheless, Down(')s is the regular way of referring to the syndrome in America while speaking (or at least the Midwest), as in "that child has Down(')s" while the full way of saying it is "that child has Down syndrome" although you might except "that child has Down's syndrome" based on the shorthand. Anyhow, the spelling of "Down(')s" is what we were discussing. :)

    @Theodore: What's the "commas of ellipsis" problem?

  46. Eloise said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 11:20 am

    I didn't think it was addressed to a woman (or women in general), but I did find the cumulative effect of so many words traditionally gendered female, along with the complete absence of masculine equivalents (such as 'dick' or 'prick'), a little misogynistic.

  47. IrrationalPoint said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    Eloise:

    I rather think "cunt" and "bitch" are misogynist regardless of whether they are accompanied by "prick" or similar (equating men with their genitalia is still sexist and objectifying, and doesn't cancel out misogyny). But I agree with you that the gendered-ness was particularly noticeable here.

    (The exception might be if the language is being used in the reclamatory sense. And of course it's disputable as to whether reclamatory language is "successful" for a given value of "success", but I think there's a relevant difference between, say, "bitch" used as the title of a feminist magazine, and "bitch" being used as a generic but gendered put-down.)

    –IP

  48. Sarah said,

    April 1, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

    My gosh. The commenters on this site are amazingly old.

    Could one really, possibly think that the person who wrote this was serious?

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