THIS IS AN ESSAY IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY LINDA HOLMES IN JUNE 2011. I AM RECYCLING IT BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES!
Linda Holmes writes NPR’s entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. After reading her post about the Oxford or Serial Comma as it is also known, I wanted to call her for lunch. I remember when I learned in a journalism class that I shouldn’t use the Serial Comma or the Oxford comma. You know the comma I’m talking about. The one before a coordinating conjunction. I was in a class where I was learning AP style. I am certain this was when I realized that I could not be a news reporter. The kind of person who could write a concise “who, what, when, where, why, and how” article. I wanted to write alliterative stories with ample appealing adjectives. The kind of stories which painted pictures for my readers. Once I decided I was not going to report news stories, I welcomed back that petite punctuation mark. It is great to know that the folks at the University of Oxford are keeping our comma. Yes, “our” comma. It must be “our” comma because since reading Linda’s post, “Going, Going, And Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma Is Safe…For Now” I have seen countless (I could probably count them I just don’t want to) articles about the survival of this stout little character.
There is even a Facebook group dedicated to preserving him and a song by Vampire Weekend (I’ve never heard of them either) aptly named, “Oxford Comma.” I feel like this little guy needs to be more than just an it. I now think of this petite purveyor of order as a small friend…almost like a pet rock. Of course, my little friend actually does more than just sit there like a rock. He can make a list a little clearer or as Linda explained the Serial Comma can actually create life (you will actually have to read her post to understand this one).
I’ve read the arguments for the survival of Blip (I always name my pets…yes, even the rock) and the arguments for why we don’t need him. It seems to be a pretty even debate. Irregardless (I’m just kidding, Linda) I will continue to honor Blip by including him in my notes, letters, and my blog. Even if he doesn’t make things clearer, Linda seems like she would be a great friend. She would tolerate my fragments, my occasional placement of the preposition at the end of my run on sentence, my…, and any infinitives that I might happen to split. And, we would share our fondness for Blip! Yes, I hope to make Linda’s acquaintance someday because I do like a writer who starts a post with a confession.