Capital letters and green ink

High intensity interval training, Julian, that’s what you need. Get yourself an exercise bike, and do twenty seconds of maximum exertion, pause for two minutes, twenty seconds at maximum again, pause for two minutes, and then finish with twenty seconds at maximum again.

Do that just three times a week, and it’ll make the world of difference to your blood pressure.

The problems that Julian is experiencing with his blood pressure are made evident in two ways. First, he has descended into a wild orgy of capitalisation, churning out entire long-winded posts in upper case. It’s widely accepted online that upper case is the equivalent of shouting, and if you read shout Julian’s posts aloud you’ll get a good idea of his state of mind. In Julian’s case, though, given his rather obsessive fascination with the fact that good writers can get grants and publishing contracts (and hold on to agents!), we might see the capitals as being his equivalent of green ink.

[For those of you who haven’t suffered the joys of working for a newspaper, and might not have come across the term otherwise, suffice it to be said that no editor opens an envelope addressed in green ink without a certain degree of trepidation – the ‘green ink brigade’ is a euphemism which saves one from talking about the lunatic fringe.]

The second sign of increasing blood pressure is the way Julian has taken to publishing long lists of people who disagree with him and claiming that they are all ‘totally discredited’. Or, once he gets into his stride, ‘TOTALLY DISCREDITED’. Regular readers of Julian’s deathless prose won’t be surprised to find that his understanding of the word ‘discredited’ is somewhat hazy, as indeed is his understanding of the word ‘totally’.

Unfortunately, Julian’s rising blood pressure hasn’t prevented him from continuing to abuse the humble comma. I don’t know why he has such hatred of commas, any more than I know why he has such hatred of writers, Wales, the Welsh, Welsh speakers – but of all these targets of his ire, commas are surely the most innocent and yet the most regularly savaged.

Please, Julian, just stop using commas entirely. You’ll make fewer mistakes that way, and no more commas will suffer needlessly.

In fact, it’s time we had a poll on this.



Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas

8 responses to “Capital letters and green ink

  1. welshnot


    Julian Ruck

  2. welshnot

    Julian has a new acolyte, the aptly-named Comeoffit. But is he real…

    Here’s one I left on his blog earlier:

    Dear Julian,
    You claim the majority are behind you and you get comments of support in large numbers. Yet you don’t publish them, even as you delete all comments that contradict you. By my reckoning, and judging from comments you have published, these are your fans:
    Gillian Brightmore, failed writer
    Ross, your former intern, who helped you with your disastrous yet legendary Kidwell-E festival, to which 30 people turned up
    Robin Williams, not, let’s hope, THE Robin Williams, whose real beef is about the NHS
    Viv Griffiths, a man who writes to the papers complaining because the author who wrote Real Swansea isn’t in fact from Swansea but has only lived there for 30 years
    Comeoffit, a well-known and frequently banned anti-Welsh troll who posts nasty anti-Welsh comments on the BBC and other websites.
    Is there anyone else?
    Thought not, because if there were, you’d publish them.
    Oh yes, Paul Davies, who compares you – as you compare yourself – to Martin Luther King. But now that you know that was a highly ironic comment, you’ve taken it down.
    Have I left anything out? I mean, apart form your own rejection at the hands of the same Welsh publishers you attack?
    Thought not.
    Yours sincerely, well, partly sincerely,

  3. I’m delighted to see that Julian himself has voted for the option we included specifically for him: ‘I’m not, sure’. It can have been none other.

  4. Oh, how wonderful – we’ve got one vote from Julian, and four from Spartacus! It’s amazing how catching the, joys of a little comma abuse can, be, isn’t it?!

  5. Puppy

    Has anyone ever thought of introducing Julian to the website so he can mop up his own excess commas.

    • Now there’s a splendid recommendation. I am ordinarily no friend of the dark arts of machine correction, but in Julian’s case you’re entirely right – it could only be a significant improvement.

  6. Sirenoftitan

    There’s also this which might help Mr. Ruck “Apostrophes and Plurals”


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