Thursday, June 30, 2005

That's No Typo, That's A Space Station

This blog probably leaves the casual reader with the impression that I am a feckless waster, incapable of turning my mind to anything more sophisticated than the purchase of inappropriate footwear, the consumption of Philip Morris Corp.'s finest produce and the relevance of Nick Cave's lyrics to my own personal circumstances.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. In my professional life, my dedication to creating outstanding marketing copy for the technology industry is unsurpassed (or so it says here on my bio).

Now I'm not going to mention any names, but some clients are more picky about their copywriters' stock-in-trade than others. Today I was treated to a briefing from one big technocorp about the correct use of grammar and punctuation. About halfway through, the speaker flashed up a slide showing the opening credits of Star Wars.

Speaker: "See here, after 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away' - there are clearly four dots. Dot dot dot dot. This is wrong. An ellipsis should only have three dots. Write that down."

Audience Member: "I think one's a star."

Well, it made me laugh.

13 comments:

Willie Lupin said...

It made me laugh too.
But it also worried me. I've been breaking this rule of ellipsis with enough abandon to be served with the pedantic equivalent of an ASBO.

BiScUiTs said...

Hahaha that was funny. Did it completely ruin the rest of the talk?

Pashmina said...

I cannot *believe* you sat through that. How did you contain yourself? You deserve a medal.

And since when do major telecoms corps get awawy with telling their PR agencies how to write? Or am I living in cloud-cuckoo land here?

Pashmina said...

Too many questions, sorry. And techno not telecom. Tsk.

cello said...

God, I am just one great big fake when it comes to pedantry. I had no idea about that rule. And, sadly, senility is going to prevent me remembering it.

Pashmina said...

I think between us we have most of the bases covered. God knows there are plenty of things about which I haven't a clue and my whole bloody blog is set up on a pose of pedantry.

Apologies for swearing on your blog Patroclus, but needs must...

patroclus said...

Oo, evening all. First things first: swearing is welcome, nay encouraged on this blog, Pash.

Secondly of all, the Star Wars incident was just the start of the hilarity. The next slide had two bullet points; one saying that writers should avoid obscure words (boo) and the second exhorting us to "exude clarity". That tickled me a lot.

Then they really got into their stride by talking earnestly about how everything from the noise the website makes when you click on something to the style of the salesperson's handshake should "communicate the corporate brand". I think it was at this point that I fell off my chair in fits of helpless laughter.

There goes *that* contract, then.

BiScUiTs said...

Hahahe that sounds hilarious! It's like a comedy. It reminds me a bit of some lectures we used to have at uni about designing interfaces and other related things. They were crazy. The general idea was that using an interface is like a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. Don't ask.

Fizzy good said...

I've never, in fact, seen Star Wars. I should probably be shot. I did know about the ellipsis rule though, so perhaps I'll be spared.

Konrad said...

Milky way = broad illuminating band of stars encircling the sky.

I had to learn this synonym in my English lessons at school a long time ago, but I never forget it.

Funny story that you made up. That's a perfect example for splitting hairs.

tom said...

just yesterday my boss was telling me about one of his former companies, whose slogan for one of their many failed products was "it's as easy as one two three four"

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