A Comma Misconception: A Follow-Up
It’s been three years since the landmark article "A Comma Misconception" was published. We sat down with the author to discuss how the piece came about and how his life has changed since it took the world by storm.
[Nebo] Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule of making infographics about sandwiches to talk to us. I know your time is very valuable to the company.
[John Copponex] You’re welcome, and might I say I’m delighted that you need content so badly you’re interviewing me about a three-year-old post.
[N] Wonderful. Let’s just run down some of the numbers: 19 LinkedIn shares, two pins, nearly seven Google+ shares. Tell me, did you know beforehand that punctuation could get the people going like that?
[JC] Honestly, it’s why I studied journalism in college with a focus in magazines. Majoring in print journalism is basically like majoring in being a Hemsworth.
[N] Let’s talk more about that. You’ve dedicated a significant amount of your life to studying grammar, punctuation and the rules of natural language in general.
[N] Have you ever thought about doing something useful?
[N] What was the reaction from the people in your life? If they thought you were a doucher before, I imagine writing an entire article about punctuation only solidified that view.
[JC] It definitely didn’t help, but I guess you could say I leaned into it.
[N] That explains why you chose to parody a Magritte painting for the header picture. Belgian surrealism does little to absolve you of the doucher tag.
[JC] No, I guess not.
[N] You took some shots at AP Style. However, they no longer recommend “e-mail”, and they recently started telling people to spell out the names of states. Do you feel like an idiot now?
[JC] Well they still recommend their state abbreviations in datelines—
[N] Because you sound like an idiot.
[JC] AP Style is the biggest scam perpetrated on the English-speaking world since inflammable became flammable!
[N] I hear you’re growing out your hair. Are people pretty stoked on it?
[JC] People are generally pretty stoked on it. My mom isn’t that stoked on it.
[N] What about your dad? As I understand it, he was flying jets in the Air Force when he was your age. And yet here you are, writing pedantic blog posts on punctuation and talking about your hair on the internet. Does your constant underachievement wear on him? On you?
[JC] My dad is very supportive.
[N] Is it true he calls you Johnny Participation Trophy?
[JPT] No. Maybe like once.
[N] What do you think it would take to finally win his affection?
[JPT] This interview is over.
[N] Wait, just one more question! Why do you always look so tired?
[JPT] Why do you always look so tired?!
[N] ...Is he gone? That guy sucks.