Friday, August 03, 2007

An Open Letter

Dear Vampire Weekend,

While I appreciate it that you are willing to sing less about matters vampiverish and more about matters grammatical, I must answer your ostensibly rhetorical question, "Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?" with an emphatic,


While it's the rare occasion when I actually agree with Robert J. Samuelson, his elegy for the comma is well-deserved. Commas, as well as other grammatical indicators of tone, voice, and style, have done something much more insidious than sped up our lives; they have been replaced by bubbly, obnoxious emoticons, thereby reducing the printed word to the level of a love-starved tween trawling MySpace pages in a desperate attempt to make a connection with another human being. Let me just be quite clear about this:

From emoticons, it's a slip-n-slide slope down into the world of reading CosmoGIRL! and getting tips on how to maximize your sleepover party by making out with your pillow.

Huzz, huzz, huzz.

Now, I do see how you would be dismissive of the serial comma in light of graver matters of the heart, especially where the telling of truth is concerned. Unfortunately, some personal and extremely non-fun things that went down recently have forced me to ask not once, but twice, the same question that you pose in your lyrics, "Why would you lie about something dumb like that?"

During such troubled times, which wholly and completely blow and make me want to pull hair and gnash teeth1, the natural logic of grammar offers much more flexibility2 than math, which I still maintain is completely made-up bullshit. As long as we're on the subject, what the hell is wrong with our nation when there is a whole month devoted to math awareness, and yet only one day devoted to punctuation?

There are also a number of funny comma-related puns one can make:

And I think we can all bask in the glory of the Giant Comma, knowing that the most fun aspect of grammar and language is fucking with it.

All of that said, I find your music quite agreeable, and you're in fierce competition with the new Spoon album for the highly coveted Goo Top Musicks of the Year Prize. I even made a mixtape from your 3 song EP. It's one of the better mixtapes I've made, which consists of "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", "A-Punk" and "Oxford Comma" played over and over and over ad nauseum, for twelve straight hours.3 Today is the seventh day in a row I have listened to this mixtape.

In the interest of not being ruthlessly killed at the hands of my less obsessive friends, colleagues, the Object (who's been surprisingly ok with this playlist), and the crack whore who likes to sleep on the street below my open window, can you please make and distribute more musicks?

And possibly come back to DC really soon?

Thanks for your kind consideration; I'll see you in about a month, when the Object and I will head up to NYC for our own little vampire weekend, the crowning glory of which will be, of course, Vampire Weekend. I look forward to the ensuing case of rawklash!4

Eagerly anticipating further VW rawk,

The Goo

1. Or is it pull teeth and gnash hair? I'm confused easily.

2. Well, it does if you're a descriptivist or semi-descriptivist, and if you're a prescriptivist, clearly you hate humanity and should just probably die. But, being a descriptivist, that's not for me to prescribe.

3.And therein lies the magic of the iPod: now it is possible to have a mixtape (aka "playlist") that stretches out 15 minutes of music over the course of twelve hours.

4.Rawklash \rɔk læʃ\: (n) An acute cervical condition characterized residual pain in the muscles of the neck and upper shoulder, resulting from vigorous and repeated bobbing of the head and pumping of fists to the beat of rock and/or roll music played at high volume. Frequently accompanied by a hangover as a result of over-consumption of alcohol.


Blogger 3pennyjane said...

Your September trip wouldn't happen to coincide with the next rollerbout, would it? Skatey mayhem, you know you wanna see it...

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Chris Chan said...

Thanks for the definition of "rawklash." I've been wondering.

3:04 PM  
Blogger rock_ninja said...

3PJ: Sadly, no. And were it the same weekend, it would already be during the Vampire Weekend show. Note to Roller Derby Girls: Please work your schedules around my life a little better.

Chris Chan: I'm here to serve!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


11:35 AM  

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