Saturday, February 23, 2008

catastrophic apostrophes

One of the most enduring memories from the Monty Python Flying Circus sketches for me has been the It's Man where Palin's beleagured hermit's exaggerated efforts to approach the screen across obstacles that would in real time be insurmountable culminated in a victoriously exhausted gasp of "It's."

That word haunts the contributions of some exhibits of apostrophe abuse (it's and its get swapped merrily as if they were identical twins).

The promos (this IndiaFM promo watch page has links to one of them) for Priyadarshan's rip-off Kyon Ki seemed keen on achieving sarataaj status in this matter. They completely eschewed the apostrophe and exploited possessives for their inter-titles (its salman, its kareena, its love, its passion, its madness, its fate, this diwali its special). To interpret it as an auteurist move would have been an equally extravagant exercise.

Raja Sen's review of Vishal's soundtrack for Ajay Devgan's directorial début U, Me Aur Hum sports another editorial gaffe:

It's a neat, uncluttered visual, not trying too hard but succeeding immensely -- and bodes well for Devgan's directorial debut. And it's soundtrack.

I recently started reading Shashi Tharoor's Bookless in Baghdad. The 14th chapter of the first edition is an article about R. K. Narayan titled "R. K. Narayan's Comedies of Suffering." Smack in the middle of page 98 is an example of abuse in plural (to wit): the ABC's of bad writing - archaisms, banalities and cliches - abounded. Interestingly enough, the online version of the article on Tharoor's web site exploits the pliable nature of web content and knocks off the egregious apostrophe: the ABC of bad writing - archaisms, banalities and cliches - abounded.

It's time to end this burst of bile.

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