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I used to help my mom with her Facebook account. Our weekly tutorials were fraught, ending in either frustration ("No, Lydia, for the last time, you may not poke your father") or metaphysical musings. ("But what, really, is a wall?") One particular point of contention was the use of exclamation points. I found them "festive" and "sparkly"; my mother countered with "abrasive" and "indulgent." Every caption or status I drafted was rejected if it contained a slammer. I vowed that when I grew up and moved to a place far away, I would use all the exclamation points I wanted.
Well, the real world proved hostile to my youthful enthusiasms. I realized my mother was not alone in her regime: Journalists and grammarians everywhere preach a wary sermon on the subject of exclamation points. If anything, the punctuation mark has only fallen in favor. "Digital communication is undergoing exclamation-point inflation," writes The Atlantic's Julie Beck. Perhaps that's why we now need six—six!!!!!!—to have the same effect as one. Then there's the question of gender. Plings, we're told, make us women sound friendly but also dumb (#classic). "Burn your bra, burn your keyboard," I chanted, suddenly deeply moved. "Free yourself from the shackles of prescribed punctuation."
End - Mother - Way - Effort - Energy
In the end, Mother got it her way: In a new-year, new-me effort to conserve my emotional energy, I decided to scrub my correspondence of punctuational loudness, to go on what I called a deep exclamation point cleanse. The Goop de grammar. My goal was one month of zero bangs on email, text, social media, Slack, dating apps, letters (yes, letters), notes to my roommates—everything.
It started well enough. The first day, I awoke feeling superior—morally, intellectually, spiritually. I no longer relied on a pedestrian symbol to express excitement or mask anxiety. When the first text rolled in,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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