Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Ich beore golt-hord! Ich beore golt-hord!

A windy, cold, and rather boring day. No news of any kind, on any front. No interesting mail. No interesting emails. I'm not particularly interested in what I'm reading. Even the coffee shop where I was reading it wasn't interesting.

--Hence, for the sake of contrast, the absurdly enthusiastic post title. It's a direct quote from Ancrene Wisse Book 3, line 453 (EETS no. 325, p. 59). The repetition is in the original, as are the exclamation points (which I strongly suspect are an editorial edition).

(Okay. Obviously I know they're an editorial edition.)

When was the exclamation point invented, anyway? It's a funny sort of thing, when you think about it. I can see the usefulness of punctuation that signifies the end of a statement, or a question, or even a pause--but excitement? I suppose they're useful for indicating emphasis, too. Perhaps my puzzlement comes from a general dislike of the exclamation point, although I admit to using it in the occasional email. Oh yeah, and in yesterday's post title.

I do not, however, employ emoticons.

But (I hasten to add) several people whom I esteem very highly, and who are very good writers, do. So even my snobbery re. such shorthand inflection must be mitigated.

What is the purpose of this blog, anyway? Sooner or later I'll have to figure that out.


medieval woman said...

I feel like I use the exclamation point all the time. When I re-read my emails, I get annoyed with myself. (see, I almost put one there, too...)

jb said...

Oh, I know I know I know. I used to be really adamantly against them, but the more online writing I do, the more they creep in.

When I was in high school, I got to conduct a phone interview with Tori Amos for the literary arts magazine, and she asked me not to put any exclamation points in the piece. "When I see them after something I've said, I feel like I'm in a comic strip," she said. I think she has a point...but of course, once she planted that seed, *everything* she said in the interview seemed to demand exclamatory emphasis. I resisted the urge, however.