Dot dot dot

Punctuation is unnecessary. Words are just fine without it. Strange signs between stranger signs. More code, more rules, more structure.

To the reader, an unpunctuated or mildly punctuated sentence feels free. Untethered. As though stops need signs, or turns need warning, or strings need reminders.

There are rules of punctuation, just like there are rules for everything else. And some are willing to cut the living flesh out of this life for something as punctual as the Oxford comma, or metadiscursive punctuation. Dot dot dot.

Along with the Agricultural Revolution, the Axial Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution, the punctuation revolution changed the face of the world. The world of books, obviously, though, in good Bruno Latour tradition, I’d argue it changed the face of human history as well.

For all their sins, the ancient Romans were textually free. Their words were unhampered by punctuation marks. Under the fancy term of scriptio continua, continuous writing, Antiquity imagined words following each other freely, unsupported by commas, dots and other reading aid signs. Not even spaces between words. An abomination for us modern readers, but a sign of the ancients’ blessed simplicity, and a mark of strength to boot.

Words stand up to each other, collaborating or confronting each other by reason of their morphologic and semantic relationships. They need no further support. The dot at the end of the line is unnecessary, if the ending is there. You’ll know it.

Punctuation is the first sign of decadence. The death knell of the primacy of the word. The colon is the worm in the apple, eating the phrase from within. The question still rises with or without a question mark.

3 thoughts on “Dot dot dot

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    1. Let’s be ortographically sound first 😉 thanks for flagging this up. What’s wrong with a bit of pedantry, anyway? Isn’t what comedy is all about, Jim? 😉


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