We haven’t been posting much, you say? We know it. We’ve all been busy doing other things, including Martin Schneider’s stylish new project, Box Office Boffo. In his words, he’s “blogging every #1 movie in America from 1970 to the present day.” Even better: “Every week there’s a #1 movie at the box office, and I’m going to watch them all.” Not only do you get close inspections of movies like The Owl and the Pussycat and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and whole years in review, you get the original posters, which will make you nostalgic in all kinds of ways.
Meanwhile, Pollux, our favorite painter/cartoonist/New Yorker cover critic/Renaissance man, just had a show at Artlife South Bay. Jonathan Taylor went back to grad school, proving once again that he’s both a gentleman and a scholar, and I’ve been working on a relaunch of The Washington Spectator’s website and writing theater reviews for Time Out Chicago.
So our collective focus has been elsewhere. But speaking for myself, I’m feeling emdashy again. There’s work to be done and punctuation marks to be shepherded, shorn, and protected from the elements.
Emily Gordon writes:Via our friends at UnBeige:
My favorite of the examples UnBeige selected is by San Francisco illustrator and comic and storyboard artist Gary Amaro, whose other beautiful and emotionally charged work (including some remarkably fine nudes and figure drawings) you should look at here.
With his moncole at the ready and a butterfly his constant companion, Eustace Tilley has been The New Yorker‘s dapper mascot since founding art director Rea Irvin sketched him into being in 1925. The magazine recently invited readers to put their own twist on the discerning dandy in its fourth Eustace Tilley design contest. And this year’s competition came with a bookish bonus: the grand-prize winner’s design printed on a Strand Bookstore tote bag (an icon for an icon!) and a $1,000 Strand shopping spree. After sifting through roughly 600 entries, New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly has selected a dozen winners, now featured in a slideshow on the magazine’s web site. The victorious Eustaces range from Seattle-based Dave Hoerlein‘s cartographic version (“A Dandy Map of New York”) to a Facebook-ready Tilley created by Nick McDowell of Mamaroneck, New York. Savannah-dwelling William Joca‘s “Cubist Tilley” was inspired by the work of Picasso (with a sprinkling of Ben-Day dots for good measure), while Pixo Hammer of Toronto channeled Joan Miro. As for the big winner, keep guessing (Grecian Eustace? Symbolic Eustace? Eustace through the years?). The champion and the tote bag will be revealed this spring.
Emily Gordon writes:
A sausage chain of inky links:
Friend Laura Miller wrote about this at (on? for? I tried all three, and this has been driving me crazy for years, but I’m going to stick with “at,” I guess) Salon: Hideous fonts may boost reading comprehension.
At Slate, Jon Lackman asks the overdue question, “Why do Tea Partiers uppercase so many of their nouns?” Is it anyone else’s observation, especially those, like me, who have taught college English, that a lot of Americans capitalize a lot of nouns? I wonder if English is using the people who do this as a psychic medium to contact its former incarnations. Lackman alludes to this: “In the century prior to 1765, nouns were generally capitalized. (The reason for this is now obscure; Benjamin Franklin hypothesized that earlier writers ‘imitated our Mother Tongue, the German.’)”
Leila Cohan-Miccio wrote this at Splitsider, the site in the invincible trio of already extremely funny sites that’s specifically about the field/world/pathology of comedy: “In Defense of Judd Apatow’s Female Characters,” which reminds me of the rousing(continued)
That’s our fervent hope, anyway. In the meantime, we’re sifting the nearly 150 entries into our write a letter to a punctuation mark contest. Mail call brought gladness to the ampersand, the grawlix, the Oxford comma, the underline, and everything (everyone? the marks have all been so brilliantly personified that we can no longer think of them as mere shapes on a page) in between. We’ll pick five top finalists this week and list them here, and we’ll want to hear what you think about it. Got a favorite entry? Have a beef to hoist? Tell us here!
As you know, the final finalist will get a signed and hand-punctuated copy of Ben Greenman’s new collection of stories, What He’s Poised to Do. Mr. Greenman will choose the top letter himself. May the best mark win! —Emily Gordon(continued)
Aristophanes of Byzantium, head of the Great Library of Alexandria in the 2nd century B.C., is considered by scholars to be the inventor of punctuation. Aristophanes created a scheme for notating texts that that included a proto-period, proto-comma, and proto-semicolon.
Aristophanes: this new recount of our punctuation contest, to win Ben Greenman’s new book, What He’s Poised to Do, is for you.
We have received many wonderful, creative, funny, sad, and inspiring letters. Ellipsis remains the leader with 16 letters of love… People love it a lot. Semicolon follows close behind with 12; semicolon is second but not secondary. The exclamation point is third!
The current high rankings:
Exclamation Point: 9
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, a content strategist, critic, and copywriter. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent its formative years as a New Yorker fan blog. (The project garnered some nice compliments and press.) It’s now a collection of conversations—generally civilized—about punctuation, magazines, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a small army of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Looking for The New Yorker magazine? Kudos on your classy taste. Here’s how to contact The New Yorker.
The original Emdashes pencil logo was designed by Jennifer Hadley, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.