Re: Stylish Punctuation

I follow a handful of mens' fashion blogs on Tumblr, because I like fashion and dresses don't have pockets.  Today, I follow reblogged another fashion blog, that saw fit to extend its purview beyond clothes, and into writing. The post was called "Stylish Punctuation," and it's linked here but its main thesis was that people who punctuate poorly are dumb, undesirable, and essentially bad people.

This is a topic I feel strongly about, so I responded.  And, because I like the response, I've reproduced it here:

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Bullshit.

I don’t object to your criticism of the exclamation point, but I do — strongly — object to your suggestion that poor punctuation implies “a poorly organized mind.”

There are certain principles in English writing that people who spend a lot of time thinking about it will tend to converge on, although even that is touchy.  minimizing the use of the exclamation point.

But when that tendency doesn’t emerge in a person’s writing, it does not mean that they are thick, or slow, or mentally disorganized.  All it means is that they don’t feel it’s necessary to bother mastering English writing to the highest possible degree — usually, because they know the people they’re writing to will take their messages in good faith and interpret them as though they were writ, reasonable person.

If you don’t need your writing to be comprehensible by a large, diverse audience of strangers, or by strangers who speak a wildly different version of English than you, or who may be reading your work hundreds of years after you’ve writ, and if your meaning is not so complicatedly precise that you need to have a perfect mastery over syntax to not screw it up, then it’s fine if you end your messages with forty!!!

When some, it’s not a freaking catastrophe, it doesn’t make them a bad person, and while it’s not intrinsically wrong to be annoyed by it (your emotions being more-or-less out of your control) judging people for it doesn’t make you discerning, it makes you a dick.