My editor sent me back some of my incidental documents that go with the book she’d already edited. My editor uses semicolons and already knows that I don’t. She’s more of a stickler for the rules of the English Language than I am. I am a language outlaw, breaking the rules and bragging about it. It’s an old habit, and it’s impossible to fix. Why’s it impossible? – ‘Cause I said it was. Like my use of the floating comma?
So, when she sent it back to me, she added some semicolons. I looked at it as something completely foreign to me. It wasn’t my writing. I never use semicolons. With that said, here is the interesting back and forth that we had on semicolons. It seems like the most boring subject ever, but in researching it, I discovered there always has been a controversy about the use of this sniveling little superfluous punctuation mark that surely came to earth like an over-heated tick falling off the butt of Satan as he fell from the heavens. Without further ado, here is the conversation:
“Pretty sneaky Sis. Trying to slip those semi-colons in there. As if I wouldn’t know. Heh.”
She responded: “When you have a string of items like that, it's good form to separate them into groups by semicolons. But you're the boss, so do what you want with them.”
ASIDE: Here is an example of how to do this string of items without semicolons: “Hunter Biden is a cokehead, a crackhead, a father, son and husband, a stripper’s babydaddy, a pedophile, a pornstar-wannabe and an all-around national security threat in the service of China.” I use an article after each comma where a semicolon might be used by someone who uses a semicolon, but I don’t use an article before the nouns in a string of things inside a string of things – “a father, son and husband.” The articles I used above were “a” and “an.” Now, did I know this is what one does after my editor slipped in the semicolons? – no. I had to go and look at what I’d originally written, and that’s how I did it. I did it without even thinking about it. Being an English-language outlaw is like second nature to me – my editor can’t turn me into a schoolmarm and think worlds won’t explode.
“Thanks, teach,” I responded, “I know the rules. I just don’t like them. Rules are made to be broken. The semicolon is a left-wing conspiracy theory just to create more rules to oppress young writers and prevent them from achieving greatness. ‘NO son. You will never be a good writer. You have not yet mastered the use of the comma-period.’ Heh again.”
Not willing to fight me, my editor responded, “You do you, man.” Passive aggressive? – I don’t know.
So, I responded:
“You know I’m messing with you, right?
“While it’s true I can’t use a semicolon, I’m messing with you. I don’t care if you use it though, but this is why I can’t:
“I just looked at what you’d rewritten and automatically saw it as something I wouldn’t/didn’t write. I haven’t used a semicolon since early in college. It was actually one of my college professors that explained why it’s unnecessary. I can’t remember which professor though. I had some good ones, and I can’t even remember the specifics.
“I just see the semicolon as the tight-hair-bunned prim and proper English teacher’s compromise between a comma and a period. A part of me wants to continue the sentence, and a part of me wants to end it. Compromise is a form of losing slowly, especially when compromising between good and evil. Not that that the semicolon is evil, but it’s not good either. Bottom line, if I want to end the sentence, I man up with a period, but if I want to continue it, I will do it with a comma and not a trans-period in a comma dress. You got that right. Trans-punctuation is just as nefarious as transhumanism and transgenderism in the era of the great reset. Screw the new world order and all their semicolon-cancerous rules. Live Free or Die. That’s my motto, period.
“And thanks again for editing it.”
“Yeah, I know you're kidding. But if you're paying me to fix your crappy work, don't argue with me. ;)” Did you see that? She used a semicolon in her emoji to make a crooked smiley face that was winking at me? I guess using it like that makes sense. I don’t use emojis though either. If words aren’t good enough to convey your meaning, get better words. Life free of emojis or die.
“Fair enough,” I responded, “But you have to admit trans-punctuation is funny. I just came up with that this morning. I think I might turn it into an FDFNY article against the matriarchy. Down with the matriarchy.”
“Have at it, man; I'm sure it will be well-received.” Again, she mocks me with another semicolon.
So, I had to do some research and sent back this: “In researching the semicolon for my article, I found this. Didn't know it was so controversial:
In Kurt Vonnegut's book A Man Without a Country, he wrote: "Here is a lesson in creative writing. The first rule: do not use semicolons. Semicolons are transvestite hermaphrodites. All they do is show you've been to college."
“Heh. There’s more though. Check this out. It’s fascinating. Like I said, I had no idea there was such a controversy. I wonder about the exclamation point. I write without that thing too. Enjoy some history on the semicolon. In the case of Mark Twain, I will right now blame the editor. Mark Twain doesn’t seem like a semicolon guy. It totally figures that Hemingway (manly) would write without it while his effeminate little buddy Scott Fitzgerald would use them. I totally see that.
3) The reputation of the semicolon has led to violence and unrest
-It’s true. The semicolon, that mistress of meaning, evokes powerful emotions.
-In 1837, two law professors in Paris were so incensed over the usage of semicolons that they fought it out in a duel.
-In 1927, two men accused of the same crime in a New Jersey murder trial received different verdicts because of haphazard semicolon use. Salvatore Rannelli got life in prison; Salvatore Merra got the death sentence.
-Alcohol service in Boston was suspended for SIX years because an errant semicolon placed in a legal statute made the meaning of the law ambiguous.
-When a semicolon was placed in the definition of War Crimes in 1945, the prosecution of Nazis was nearly suspended because the meaning was obfuscated.
4) Lots of authors HATE them
· “The most pusillanimous, sissified, utterly useless mark of punctuation ever invented.” — James J. Kilpatrick, grammarian
· Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., admonished:
· “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
· In today’s copywriting world with an emphasis on brevity, clarity, and conciseness, semicolons are rarely used, possibly because we’re no longer as interested in the subtleties and causalities of emotion. We’re interested in straight-forward, facts. Semicolons are often perceived as antiquated, a literary device that links emotions together instead of separating and punctuating them. Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway were among the semicolon haters, and they are not alone.
· June Casagrande, writing in The L.A. Times, echoes Vonnegut, suggesting that semicolons are only used by writers who are trying to show off:
· “They’re favored by writers who are so proud they know how to use semicolons that they’ll happily shortchange readers to show off their knowledge. They’re also a popular crutch among writers who don’t know how to manage all the information they want to convey, so they use semicolons to cobble it all into a single monstrous sentence.”
5) Mark Twain fibbed
· Mark Twain was a supposed “hater.” He quoted Donald Barthelme’s remark:
· “Let me be plain: the semicolon is ugly, ugly as a tick on a dog’s belly. I pinch them out of my prose.”
· But he didn’t practice what he preached. In The Gutenberg’s Project electronic edition of Huckleberry Finn, there are 1,562 semicolons.
6) Lots of authors LOVE them
· Other writers love semicolons. Consider Virginia Woolfe, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William James, to name a few. They love them because they illustrate relationships between two thoughts. Putting a period in the sentence below would not show the connection between these two ideas propounded by Tolstoy:
· Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
· And Herman Melville. Oh my! In her book on the semicolon, Cecelia Watson estimates that there are more than four thousand semicolons in Moby Dick, one for every fifty-two words.
· “Clumsy as nineteenth-century punctuation may seem to a modern reader, Melville’s semicolons, act like ‘sturdy little nails,’ holding his wide-ranging narrative together.”
7) Semicolons are like cherry-pitters
“To me,” my editor responds to the controversy, “they make sense, like in the Tolstoy example above. They don't have the finality of a period, nor the generality of a comma. They're their own thing.”
“Yeah,” I wrote back, “but are you willing to fight it out in a duel like those professors in Paris? Me neither. To me, it signifies indecision. If you’re done with the sentence, use a period, if not, use a comma. Decide, man. I was just reading about the semicolon tattoo thing. [redacted] has one. I don’t remember if that was for someone who decided not to kill themselves or if it was someone who did. Seems to me, killing yourself is better represented by a period, but hey. Suicide is like a period that it ends your sentence of life. It’s pretty decisive, that’s for sure.”
My editor, being an expert on the semicolon was able to clear that up. “The semicolon tattoo is supposed to signify somebody who considered or attempted suicide and survived. As in, their story kept going.”
“That’s what I thought, but I think I remember that [redacted’s] ex-wife killed herself. Think about Hemingway,” I continued, “he put a bullet in his head. That’s a period. F. Scott Fitzgerald slowly killed himself in a run-on sentence filled with semicolons to denote the point of each drunken day when he passed out before waking again to imbibe more spirits. Then he finally drew the heart attack. He was committing suicide, but he didn’t have the cojones to do it decisively like Hemingway, in whose shadow he walked. Semicolons were his thing.”
“Are you calling me a Fitzgerald?”
“You’d be so lucky,” I responded, “He was a great writer. Just a terrible human. Maybe not so lucky. I don’t despise him because he used semicolons though. He was just more effeminate than Hemingway, and his insecurities were masked by his drunkenness. And his indecisive semicolons.”
“I'll work on my drinking and writing,” my editor ended the conversation with a lie. She doesn’t drink, and I know that.
Bottom line, semicolons are effeminate. The left-wing has been trying to de-ball the American man for decades, especially if he’s white. That way we won’t shoot them when they come to take our guns. Instead, they hope, we’ll offer them a cup of tea. Heh.
The semicolon is all about indecision. It’s a psyop to develop in the American mind an inability to make a decision. Cloud the vision with indecision, and then make it easy for America to be conquered as we indecisive Americans can’t figure out whether to use a comma, a period or a semicolon as we list the reasons we’d like these nation-destroying commies to leave us alone. Decisive Americans won’t have that problem. They will have commas, periods and bullets that move really fast, thanks to the gun they weren’t willing to give up over a cup of tea.
Want to know what it’s like to flout the schoolmarm’s period-comma rules? – go grocery shopping without a face mask and smile at everybody. That’s decisive. You’ll have no idea if the face-masked shoppers are smiling back, nor what gender they are in many cases, but that’s because they follow the rules and don’t know how to respond to those who don’t. Also, they have a mask on their face that keeps most of their facial expression under wraps. Ironically, from the side view, they look like the have a semicolon-like parasite sucking their brains out through their nose. Their eye is the period in the period comma, and the comma is the facemask that keeps their mouth shut as the left wing takes over their country. Do as you’re told and shut up.
It’s a time for choosing. If we want this plandemic sentence of shutdown and shut-up-a-you-face to continue, use a comma, but if it’s time for all this nonsense to end, we need to put our feet down and end it with a PERIOD that doesn’t wear a comma as a dress. A manly period that denotes the decisiveness of the American male, unhindered by the incessant girlification of the left wing. It’s time to overthrow the matriarchy. Stop using semicolons and burn your facemasks. Don’t be the progressive parental perverts who force kids to play pin the penis on the little trannie-girl before the cake is served at your kid’s birthday party. Quit acting like we live in China and have to wear a facemask because the air is as dirty and as smelly as Satan’s semicolon-infested butt.
The semicolon is a left-wing conspiracy theory from the butt of Satan.
QED – Believe the science you semicolonizing left-winging conspiracy theorists. We’re on to you.