Monday, December 7, 2009

Always Remember to Close All Parentheses. We’re Not Paying to Air Condition the Entire Paragraph.

The daughter of an English teacher, I have always enjoyed puns and other word games, vocabulary, and grammar.

A friend of mine from high school is part of a team that has developed a Twitter feed called "AP Fake Stylebook." My friend is brilliant and witty; the "AP Fake Stylebook" is great fun. One need not be a member of Twitter to view the page and enjoy the wordplay.

Here is my friend's story as he tells it:
Always Remember to Close All Parentheses. We’re Not Paying to Air Condition the Entire Paragraph.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 8:15pm

At last my secret can be told!

A couple weeks ago my pals Ken and Mark decided to start a Twitter feed called "Fake AP Stylebook". In it, they’d make fun of the Associated Press Stylebook, a guide to grammar, punctuation, and usage that journalists and other professional writers rely on. They invited me and a bunch of other people to join in. We had some laughs, posted some stuff, and successfully entertained ourselves. Here are some of the things we posted:

Robots should only be referred to by gender-neutral pronouns, no matter how sexy they may be.

The correct spelling is ‘Mr. T.’ People who type out ‘Mister’ are fools to be pitied.

The noun “Wang Chung” should be capitalized, but not the verb.

If you’re short on space, “fake” may be used in place of “psychic” or “homeopathic.”

Some of mine were:

The interrotilde is used to denote an ‘n’ that is pronounced as “WHUUUUUU?”

The plural of ‘dracula’ is ‘CHRIST GET OUT OF THERE!’

Avoid using the letter G as it is unlucky.

Two days later, we were successfully entertaining 20,000 other people. Somehow this thing just took off like a shot, and we were getting follows and retweets like crazy. And if that weren’t enough, that’s about when the first publishing agent contacted us. The short version is: we are working with an agent and putting together a sample chapter for a proposed book that a number of publishers are interested in.

That, my friends, is crazy stupid.

We were semi-anonymous, in that the Fake AP was itself, and we were focusing on it, keeping it separate from our other stuff. Ken and Mark would happily tell people who asked whatever they wanted to know. A would-be “investigative reporter” “unmasked” us over at Wired’s website, and at that point we went ahead and admitted who we were. (Considering that we’re all a bunch of nobodies, it’s hard to say that there’s any difference between us being anonymous and us being outed.) The full list of contributors is here.

I’ll keep you posted with new developments. In the meantime, here are a couple of articles about the whole shebang:

Should "anal retentive" be hyphenated?

New York Magazine: the Approval Matrix (we're both "brilliant" and "lowbrow.)

and, once more, the actual Twitter feed.
I hope you will go visit!

No comments: