Saturday, August 14, 2004

cUDDLE wITH tHIS, pAL ...

From my rant on "k.d. lang" and other decorative capitalization in "Lapsing Into a Comma":

If I could be guaranteed that a gender-bending Canadian torch-twang-pop singer would be the only person ever to be associated with the all-lowercase conceit, I'd be inclined to cap and let cap. But people are weird, and they're not getting any less so. It won't be long before reporters start submitting man-on-the-street quotes from "john smith."

From a Columbia News Service article on "cuddle parties":

REiD (the mix of capital and small letters is by choice) Mihalko, 36, and Marcia Baczynski, 26, self-described healers and sex educators in Manhattan, originally conceived of cuddle parties as a way for their friends, deprived of human touch, to get a regular dose of nonsexual human contact.

UPDATE, Sept. 2: GQ tells us about "REiD (yes, that's how he writes it)." Apparently the G stands for "dumb-" and the Q stands for "-shit."

14 comments:

Sherry said...

If it's REiD, then why not MiHALKO?

Uncle Fokker said...

It's spelled "REiD," but it's pronounced "Dick."

Peter Fisk said...

Couple o' years ago, a wicked-cool traveling musician named "johnsmith" played at our humble church in Colorado. (I bought one of his CDs and still listen to it once in a while.)

Bill said...

Actually, it is MiHALKO, or something like that, in some online references. I'm happy to report that, as far as I can tell, no newspaper has published his name with unconventional capitalization.

Tony said...

I've been in graphic design/marketing for years, and my theory is that most of this REiD-type stuff is the fallout from personal desktop publishing made affordable.

Where before it was "everybody thinks they can sing," now it's "everybody thinks they can publish." Of course, they can, in a sense. But so can some people sing ... in a sense.

Holbrook said...

The whole thing reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker in "L.A. Story."

"My name's SanDeE. That's big S, little A, little N, big D, little E, big E. With a star at the end."

Jeff said...

What an iDiOT.

Bill said...

Yep. I used both Tony's and Holbrook's examples when making fun of this stuff in "Lapsing Into a Comma."

Nicole said...

I'm happy to report that, as far as I can tell, no newspaper has published his name with unconventional capitalization.If only we could say the same about Matchbox Twenty.

Matt said...

I wish I could say that the [seven-degrees] art gallery that pops up weekly in a paper I edit didn't look like a compound-modifier quote clarification.

Bridey Murphy said...

I work for a music-industry paper and we've had to declare that nobody gets any dopey styling except one cap in the middle. It's K.D. Lang and Matchbox Twenty, but SheDaisy is OK (though not, as they would prefer, SHeDAISY). And all 400 or so hip-hop people who are called "Lil" something or other are simply Lil This or Lil That, since we don't have time to keep track of who gets an apostrophe and who doesn't. That art gallery would be Seven-Degrees 'round here!

Bill said...

Good work, Apassionata!

Slowjack said...

What bothers me the most is when they do the lowercase even at the start of a sentence--and it's not just the K. D. Langs that make editors do this. I've got a textbook on my shelf (Computer Systems, 2/e, Warford) that is thrown into fits over "John von Neumann." Sentences begin with "von Neumann" instead of "Von Neumann" and there's a chapter section called "von Neumann Machines" even though other sections start with "The."

Ravenm said...

I rarely have to deal with the random capitalization choices made by self-important performers and the like (thank God). However, I do get to contend with the lifestyle-dictated pronoun capitalization preferences of people involved in BDSM. Dom/mes, Masters, and Tops generally bear caps for both their "position" titles and their personal references - names, "I," "Me," etc. Subs, slaves, and bottoms almost never get caps (unless they have a rebellious streak, a free-thinking Dominant, or both), even in regard to their names or "i."

As fiction publishers, we use the the lifestyle caps preferred by the respective authors. Luckily, I rarely have to deal with the even higher level of this: real-time, lifestyle-related communication. In these situations, it's common to see writers using "O/our," W/we," "T/they," and so on. If THAT doesn't make you tear your hair out . . .