Monday, December 10, 2012

ALOTT5MA STYLE GUIDE:  When writing about the band which styles its name as fun., is one obligated to roll with it and let sentences go wherever they go? Vulture's review of the Z-100 Jingle Ball concert contains sentences like this:
Despite her One Direction allegiance, fun. was my new friend’s favorite set of the night, and she was not alone — even the wandering lemonade guy joined in on the “We Are Young” sing-along.... Fun.’s sound is “unique” and “classier” than most pop music, according to my neighbor, which was her endearing way of saying that she recognized something different and more accomplished in their songs.
Especially that sentence with the apostrophe -- is it better to reword to avoid a punctuation traffic jam like that?

[On another note: if Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and One Direction are the current rulers of the Teen Pop roost, this is a pretty damn good time for teen pop music, isn't it?  For evidence, I'll present the Bieber acoustic number from the AMAs, and Ms. Swift from the aforementioned Jingle Ball expressing her thoughts on a reunion with an ex.]


  1. This would be an excellent question for the CMOS Q&A column. My first inclination is to drop the period for the sake of clarity and rework the sentence so fun can remain lowercase.

  2. Jordan10:44 AM

    If you have problems with "fun.", let me introduce you to "Portugal. The Man". (I placed punctuation out of the quotation marks to denote it is not part of the band's stylization)

  3. Upon further review, the band's website uses both upper and lowercase and the NY Times is fine with the punctuation: "It anchors Fun.'s second album."I find it a bit clunky jamming the ellipsis, period, and apostrophe so close together, but will withdraw any other objection.

  4. isaac_spaceman10:55 AM

    I have no thoughts on Bieber other than that he looks to have a couple more years of superstardom in him before he falls off a Jonas Brothers cliff. Of Taylor Swift: she is terrible at singing. Obviously she writes songs that speak to a lot of people, but you can't swing a keyboard cat on YouTube without hitting about ten million women about her age or younger who are about as attractive as her or more so singing her songs way better than she is capable of singing them without the aid of professional recording engineers. My very first thought about Nashville was that actress/minifig Hayden Panettiere is a way better version of Taylor Swift, musically, than the real deal.

  5. Adam B.11:11 AM

    The ellipsis was mine -- there was a full sentence stop before that, and I had omitted an intervening sentence.

  6. I like "fun." as a name. Not only does it make folks think for a moment about naming, grammar, punctuation, and the underlying conventions for the same, but it reminds me each time I see it of my favorite Patrick Stewart line from Jeffrey ("Darling! The earring! Fun. Last year.")

    However the real miracle of pop-music branding at the moment is that we finally have a boy band with the word "erection" in its name. Better, it's a Wonderection!

  7. No. Fun is spelled Fun. The same goes for Bell Hooks, E.E. Cummings, Lincoln Park and the like. Why yes, I have FEELINGS about this.

    [And seriously, how many people has Taylor Swift dated, broken up with and written songs about at this point?]

  8. Watts1:24 PM

    If Taylor Swift weren't so pretty and particularly so savvy, she would've grown up to be a very successful songwriter in Nashville.

  9. Watts1:24 PM

    I saw someone on Facebook calling them Wand Erection. If that's not already the name of a Harry Potter slashfic site it should be.

  10. Not necessarily Nashville--a bunch of her stuff has a much more pop sensibility. Honestly, I'd love to see her team with a good book writer and I think there'd be a fascinating musical there.

  11. Watts3:11 PM

    Right. But I sometimes get the feeling that Nashville is more receptive to and respectful of songwriters than the pop world.

  12. bill.8:54 AM

    related, at Language Log: Accuracy versus consistency

  13. Maddy3:24 PM

    My school won a Taylor Swift concert this semester. I didn't really get the appeal before, but the concert sort of turned me into a fan. I mean, it may be manufactured charm and jokes written by someone else, but she was really charming and actually pretty fun in her between song banter. The concert was the taping for a VH1 special, so there was some starting and stoping to get equipment correctly positioned. At one point during the set-up, she said something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, I only do what people tell me to do, every single day," and I felt sorry for her for half a second before I remembered that she's Taylor Swift.

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