I am Y.P.R.'s Boring Logo
The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastilly Written & Sloppilly Edited

RSD | RSS I | RSS II | Atøm | Spanish

Support Submit
From the Y.P.aRchives Fun, Fickle Fiction (for Free!) Fact, Opinion, Essay, & Review Spectacular Features, Calendrical Happenings, Media Gadflies Poetry & Lyric Advice, How To, & Self-Help Listicles Semi-Frequent Columns Letter from the Editors Disquieting Modern Trends Interviews Interviews with Interviewers One-Question Interviews The Book Club Media Gadflies Calendrical Happenings Roasts Correspondence (Letters To and Letters From) Letters from Y.P.R. Letters to Y.P.R. Birthday Cards to Celebrities Pop Stars in Hotel Rooms Shreek of the Week of the Day Polish Facts: An Antidote to the Polish Joke The Y.P.aRt Gallery Illustrious Illustration Photography Photomontage Graphic Design Logo Gallery What's Up with That? Fuit Salad Nick's Guff Vermont Girl The M_methicist Daily Garfield Digest New & Noteworthy Contributors' Notes Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera The Y.P.aRchives
Commons License
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons License and powered by Movable Typo 4.01.
Y.P.R. & Co.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Letters (from)
Eat, Shoot, & Leave This!: Dear Lynne Truss

Dear crazy Ms. Truss,

Jeepers, lady, have you gone totally bonkers? On page 172 of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, your chipper, chirpy handbook for the pathologically meticulous, you recommend punctuating as follows:

4   Though it is less rigorously applied than it used to be, there is a rule that when a noun phrase such as “stainless steel” is used to qualify another noun, it is hyphenated, as “stainless-steel kitchen”. Thus you have corrugated iron, but a corrugated-iron roof. The match has a second half, but lots of second-half excitement. Tom Jones was written in the 18th century, but is an 18th-century novel. The train leaves at seven o’clock; it is the seven-o’clock train.


Therefore, crazy lady who does not practice what she preaches, one has zero tolerance, but a zero-freakin’-hyphen-tolerance approach. Where the bloody blazes is the dang hyphen betwixt “Zero” and “Tolerance” in your stupid title, you daffy bird?!? For shame, Ms. Truss! You prattle on for 200 pages, cheekily admonishing hardscrabble greengrocers for their naïve misuse of typesetters’ marks, and you bungled the title! What’s that they say about judgment by cover? This, after you take Who Framed Roger Rabbit to task for omitting a question mark from its title (or an interrobang, you crazy bat), and you went apeshit on Two Weeks Notice for overlooking a possessive apostrophe.

Man alive, Truss! You launched a bloody crusade against an incorrect title! You ran around slapping apostrophe patches on movie-theater marquees like some unhinged Gotham City villain. And you’ve encouraged your readers to arm themselves with Magic Markers or Wite-Out and, when they spy punctuation peccadilloes, to deface properties public and private for the sake of proper apostrophizing. O.K., you punctilious practitioner of punctuation punctilios, I call bullshit on you. You want renegade copyediting? I hereby announce a goddamn drive-by hyphenation blitz on your irksomely perky-from-too-many-mocha-lattés guidebook. I’m stabbing every single hyphenless dust jacket of your stupid book with my big, black Sharpie, and no Borders or Barnes & Noble security guard will ever catch me, because I wield a marker like a fucking ninja.

Eat, shoot, & leave this, you proofreading harpy.

J. Abraham

P.S. While I’ve got your attention, Ms. Truss, I’d like to ask about page 75, where you refer to the Jews of Exodus as “a lot of clever, dandruffy people.” I confess that dry, British humour isn’t really my bag (although, in my book, Benny Hill chasing busty broads with his pants ’round his ankles, in fast-forwarded hyper-speed, is comedy at its finest), but does a dig at the pruritic afflictions of a persecuted people really belong in a book about commas?

Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Ha, ha. Funny.
Josh Abraham was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs--in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company--to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevsky. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.