May 12, 2005

Of course the even more appalling oversight was my omitting to say that the gorgeous web site was designed by this genius. The astonishing thing is that he managed to do it without an appendix.

My brother and I had a tiff last night as we were discussing the proposal I’m writing for a second book and ways I could parlay it into other writing jobs. Then he went to dinner with his girlfriend, and I thought obsessively about our argument for three hours. They came back, and we had the following conversation:

FAUSTUS: I’m sorry I was a jerk. I realized that I’m scared I won’t be able to write this book, and I react to anything that even remotely threatens to take away any of my material with fear and anger.

FAUSTUS’S BROTHER: That’s okay. I’m sorry I was a jerk. I realized I’m upset that my move into academia has isolated me from the world of periodicals. When you seemed to dismiss my one remaining strong connection out of hand, I really overreacted.

FAUSTUS: That’s okay. I accept your apology.

FAUSTUS’S BROTHER: I accept your apology.


FAUSTUS’S BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND: This is a conversation between two brothers who have had a lot of therapy.

FAUSTUS: You’re just saying that because you’re not tortured enough.

FAUSTUS’S BROTHER’S GIRLFRIEND: You subjected me to that excruciating exchange and you can still say that?


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20 Responses to Of course the even more

  1. Mushlette says:

    LOL! I like F’sB’sGF. She sounds great.

  2. Jess says:

    She has a point, and I like her, too. 🙂

  3. Matt says:

    Tell Faustus’ brother’s girlfriend that most people find it only hurts to listen to that kind of speach for the first few months, then an adjustment occurs.

    Then ask her if she feels more or less comfortable as a result of that disclosure.


  4. Dafina Girl says:

    Hurray for therapy! Do you ever worry that too much therapy will take away your material?

    BTW, am shocked, SHOCKED, that there’s no post on ANTM today (can you even take Keenyah’s freakout over Bertini the lascivious South African model? or the louche after-dinner bill negotiations?). That said, I was just reminded by my friend the Pegster (forgot his blog address right now) that I haven’t posted on ANTM either. Will do so now.

  5. James says:

    A group hug would’ve been called for at the end of that exchange.

  6. I only mention this cos I know you enjoy literariness type stuff:

    Shouldn’t the trailing ‘S’ in “FAUSTUS’S” be ommitted since there’s an S preceding the apostrophe?

    ie. FAUSTUS’ instead of FAUSTUS’S

    Glad i could help 🙂

  7. Kevin says:

    Chris, good sir, I might remark as an aside that within the geographic boundary of Australia, you are correct that the genitive form of nouns ending with S is formed by a single apostrophe.

    England and the U.S., however, generally conform to the Rules of Usage formalized by Strunk and White.

    Most Americans are stupid, though. They use apostrophes indiscriminately and think that genitive sounds sexual.

  8. Cara says:

    I am several days late, I know, but congratulations on the book. I want you to know that I was late in congratulating you because my issues with attentive combined with my own fears related to working on books (papercuts, mostly) left me unable to react to your good news appropriately.

  9. birdfarm says:

    Kevin, thank you for humbling me for thinking condescendingly of Chris for the nanosecond it took me to proceed from his comment to yours.

    I am so impressed that you knew that about Australia.

    My least favorite apostrophe misuse is when people try to make their last name plural and possessive, as when writing it on their mailbox (as in The Jones’s, or The Jones’–when anybody knows it should be The Joneses’).

  10. logan says:

    I mean, Keenyah’s okay and all, but she’s no Naima.

  11. nate says:

    you are one damn funny man. Perhaps haiku is not your calling…i have read your site for a while. always leave laughing.
    thanks for the memories my friend. !

  12. Adam875 says:

    All I could think reading this post was, “Good lord, surely Faustus knows better than to write Faustus’s, which while not incorrect is also no more correct than Faustus’, which looks infinitely less ugly!”

  13. anapestic says:

    While I consistently eschew the extraneous post-apostrophical s, others defend it because, they say, it more nearly approximates speech. I note, however, that it is perfectly possible to pronounce the possessive without the additional syllable. I also note that those among us (I name no names; I cast no stones) with admitted sybilance issues might do well to speak as few of the offending consonants as possible.

    More generally, the idea of a language that is so lax as to have optional rules about the formation of the possessive burdens my heart greatly. Though not nearly so much as the consistently appalling manner in which my fellow Americans overuse the apostrophe.

  14. Jess says:

    I blame Skunk & White for endorsing the use of an extra, unnecessary s after a post-s possessive apostrophe. My name is Jess. To indicate possession on my part, one should write Jess’, not Jess’s. Like the recent advent of “feel badly” (instead of the correct “feel bad”) and “could care less” (instead of the correct “couldn’t care less”), this clearly arose from common misuse, and I refuse to bow to it.

    On another, semi-related note, I know this is a losing battle, but I don’t believe an apostrophe should be used to make an abbreviation plural. For example, even the vaunted New York Times will write the plural of DJ as DJ’s, but that can’t possibly be correct. If we were to make “disc jockey” plural, it would become “disc jockeys” not “disc jockey’s,” so why the apostrophe in the abbreviation? A more common usage would be something like today’s story headline, “Little-Known Story of G.I.’s Trapped in the Holocaust.” Why not “GIs” or “G.I.s”? While “G.I.s” may look a bit ungainly, there is no proper use for an apostrophe in there.

    Okay, I’m done. I just needed to get that out! 🙂

  15. My training as a theoretical linguist forces me to understand and accept all the views here expressed about the possessive s after names ending in s. Nevertheless, I stand by my usage, which does indeed come from Strunk & White. Jess, I must take issue with your “common misuse” theory as applied in this case; the linguistic concepts of reanalysis and diffusion are responsible for much of what we now think of as correct English, and Strunk & White laid down their views on the subject in 1918, long enough ago for them to have acquired the patina of correctness. Chicago has a another set of guidelines, and AP still another. For my part, as long as people are following a recognized authority, I’m less concerned with whether they agree with me. (At least that’s my public claim.)

    birdfarm, the apostrophe use you describe is nothing short of barbaric. And Jess, the Times lost my trust entirely when it started printing split infinitives.

  16. birdfarm says:

    I was taught (by a Strunk & White devotee whose counsel has never led me astray on a standardized test) to use an apostrophe when creating a plural form from numbers or abbreviations, as in “the D.J.’s of the 1990’s.”

    I think it has become common usage to omit both the periods and the apostrophe, viz.,
    “the DJs of the 1990s.”

    I must take exception with “G.I.s,” which would imply that the “s” is part of the abbreviation–“Gastro-Intestinal stenosis” or some such nonsense, if you see what I mean.

  17. Jess says:

    birdfarm, I could easily accept GIs (although I’d be more likely to share your concern if it were “G.I.s.” as opposed to “G.I.s” Even so, GIs would be fine). I just can’t deal with the apostrophe. It serves no purpose and seems misplaced.

    Faustus, despite your taking issue with my view, I still love you. 🙂

  18. Hey I think Kumquats are cool


    Look at the mess I started! *feels proud. beams*

    Aren’t you grateful for it Joely Faustus?

  20. birdfarm says:

    Jess, I see your point about the extra period in G.I.s., but I still think the apostrophe is useful to help distinguish G.I.s. from G.I.’s.

    That said, such assistance is unnecessary in GIs, which in itself is a point in favor of skipping the periods.

    Chris, you should indeed feel proud. I myself am in awe.


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