Wednesday, July 8, 2015

“Every generation hyphenates the way it wants to”

From The Simpsons episode “The Bart of War” (May 18, 2003), aired again (again) last night. Bart and Milhouse are in trouble:

Bart: Please, don’t call our parents.

Chief Wiggum: I’m afraid I have to for hijinks like these. Heh. Hijinks. Funny word. Three dotted letters in a row.

Eddie: Is it hyphenated?

Chief Wiggum: It used to be. Back in the bad old days, you know. Of course every generation hyphenates the way it wants to. Then there’s ★NSYNC. Hah. What the hell is that? Jump in any time, Eddie, these are good topics.
I don’t know how Chief Wiggum spells ★NSYNC, but I know how ★NSYNC spells ★NSYNC. (I looked it up.) But I am unwilling to ruin line spacing by superscripting the star. Like so:
I also don’t know if Chief Wiggum italicizes words used as words. But I do.

Related reading
All OCA punctuation posts (Pinboard)
The Hammacher Schlemmer crazy making hyphen shortage problem
Living on hyphens
Mr. Hyphen and Mr. Faulkner
One more from Mr. Hyphen

[Mary Norris’s Between You & Me (2015) and Edward N. Teall’s Meet Mr. Hyphen (1937) got me noticing hyphens and talk of hyphens.]

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