Apostrophes: those naughty little buggers

sketch

131209_cartoon_084_a17902_p465

You might think my cartoon in this week‘s New Yorker is a copyediting joke to appeal to the punctuation police, the nerds who are always getting upset about these things. That view is dangerous, because it overlooks the fact that punctuation can be objectively bad. They get away with it, because most of the time they’re so small that we don’t notice what they’re really doing. But if you are able to zoom in on your screen or with a pair of magnifying glasse’s ( <see what I mean? Stupid apostrophe inserted himself in there when i wasn’t looking) you will often be shocked at how horrible apostrophes really are:

apostrophe_slime

apostrophe_hc

apostrophe_detroit

apostrophe_mileyAnd it’s not just apostrophes. Quotation marks can be just as repellent:

apostrophe_quotations

Or, as T.S. Eliot wrote:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a misplaced semicolon;

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