Full Stop Therapy for Disaffected Teens

Why is everyone on this blog always starting their comments with “Hey [author of post],” or “Hi [author of post]!”??? It gives every comment such a stilted and formal vibe, like we’re baby boomers on Facebook replying to a Happy Birthday from our second cousins. Why do we do it? Because we wanna buffer our scathing comments with polite formalities? I suppose it’s easier to tell someone to piss off when you address them very kindly by their name first

It’s always amazing how such small additions to a comment can add such an emotional impact. Anyone who texts or chats on the internet often can tell you what a misplaced full stop/period can do to the emotional tone of your message. Consider:

“It’s fine”


“It’s fine.”

Doesn’t that second example carry so much more passive-aggression?

Chrissy Montelli once called the millennial penchant for removing punctuation in order to seem less intense a sign that we’re all “disaffected teens.”

We talk about this all the time in poetry, don’t we? Maybe not about the emotional impact that punctuation carries, but its sonic and rhythmic impact. A poem in which every line ends in a full stop reads much differently than a poem in which there’s no punctuation—the full stop version will come off as slower, stiffer, less breezy. Emdashes carry a different length of pause than semi-colons and colons and commas, which carry a different length of pause than periods. The smallest additions to a poem can drastically alter the way we read it. English is scary, and we should ban it from our schools.

…and that’s all I got. Did I tie my complaint about commenting into poetry well enough to get away with it?


P.S.: If anyone comments on this with “Hi Will!”, we’re gonna fight in the parking dock behind Letch

3 Replies to “Full Stop Therapy for Disaffected Teens”

  1. Let’s fight: you, me, 6:15 after class.

    But really, I think you have a point. Chrissy’s mention of all of us being “disaffected teens” hits it pretty well on the head, but we have to note the different mediums through which these forms of writing are held. I can be casual on here since it’s a relatively laid back blog post. However, if you were a professor to whom I’d be writing an email, it would sound way more different than it would on here. Levels of hierarchy and formality plays a cool factor in our daily interactions.

    It might be cool to play with that idea in the “form mimics content” of a poem.

  2. While I try to be a stickler for grammar, such as punctuation and capitalization, in my texts, even if that does seem old school, I tend to save periods for more “weighty” conversations (well, as weighty as you can get over text.) Otherwise, I typically use an excessive amount of ellipses or exclamation points, both of which don’t carry the weight of the period. I love how much significance is placed on one small dot.

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