I am posting this here now as it is a subject with which I feel intimate and the entire world strongly.
I personally cannot stand the look of apostrophes or quotation marks, yet I adore an aptly dropped comma. I concede that quotation marks in dialouge-heavy prose allow the reader a brisk passage through the text. I do not concede, however, that a brisk passage through the text is always the desired, nor best, approach.
Hey, look! Here is something related! (Albeit two years old.) Utter chaos. I repeat: utter chaos.
My theory, which is not a theory because I’m right, is that people who are insecure about their education jump on the grammar campaign because it proves that they remember at least one thing they learned from grammar school.
Just look at this asshole’s post in which he declares that it is not only possible but somehow deplorable to commit a “crime” against the least consistent language ever hobbled together.
The crimes against the English language committed in the first eight pages of this book are so deplorable that I could not reach the double digit page numbers at all.
I believe he means to write “the crimes against syntactical conventions of the English language;” something not nearly as criminal as putting the spoon to the left of your dinner plate. And by “reach” of course he is using the rhetorical figure. He couldn’t possibly mean that he was unable to leaf through 5 or more pages of a novel that an author spent three years of his life composing. That would be silly. And the two would in no way be connected. He should probably call a doctor.
And check out this string of assholes, many of which slight McCarthy’s idiosyncratic style as aping Hemingway, the “great American novel,” a “Proper novel,” or anything else that can be aped.
I think if Cormac McCarthy wanted you to think he was writing a proper novel (what the fuck is that?), all he would have to do is… have it published.
How is it that we are nearly a century in debt to Woolf and unorthodox styles are still being openly mocked, nay, openly discarded as illegitimate?
And to those conservative viewpoints, I highlight the argument of one of the Cormac apologisers: Cormac’s style is purposefully polysendetic, a style “used extensively in the King James Bible” according to everyone’s favorite internet source. If you’ve read Cormac, you understand why biblical allusions are apt. I presume secondary school literature classes focus more on imagery and symbolism, and less on tone and cadence.
This was not intended to be a defense of Cormac McCarthy. I intended to borrow the nonsense of one or more blowhards on the internet (my mistake) to highlight the controversy and political nature of the apostrophe debate detailed marvelously in Michael Rosen’s article. Because it is a ridiculous controversy.