Not Alabama--y'all are good. It's the British I'm after. Now I hope I do not have to remind people how devoted my Anglophilia is. I could not love a country more, I vow to thee. And it isn't the rest of the UK with whom I am taking umbrage--just Birmingham. Because they killed the apostrophe. The Birmingham city officials have done away with the apostrophe on all street signs. No more Queen's Way or King's Road, just the bland and antiseptic Queens Way or Kings Road. Sigh. As one defender remarked, the apostrophe is sweet-looking, and it's a shame the city fathers (and mothers?) have decided to abolish it. They've argued that it's necessary on the grounds that arguing over apostrophe placement takes up valuable council time and that apostrophes confuse GPS systems. GPS system are entirely capable of being confused on their own, and as this article points out, GPS systems usually spit out street names long before the apostrophe comes into the matter. (And honestly, a style guide would sort out the city council, toot sweet, as they say in Texas.) But the most disturbing defense of this atrocity is the councilman who claims that he wants to be able to find a restaurant without needing a high-school education. I beg the gentleman's pardon, but in my education, apostrophes were dealt with LONG before high school. I remember being distinctly annoyed by them in third grade. (Little did I imagine I would grow up to mourn their passing...) I feel quite certain that any British school does as well if not better than my elementary alma mater. And the larger point here is that we needn't dumb down the world to compensate for an impoverished education. The answer is to better educate our children so they can tell us where the apostrophes go. If we do away with everything that is complicated or troublesome or that requires effort just BECAUSE it requires effort, then we might as well just give up now and go live with the bonobos. Some things are worthwhile just because THEY ARE. Loose leaf tea. Ink pens. Ironed handkerchiefs. APOSTROPHES. Honestly.
For some unaccountable reason, Typepad would not let me comment on my OWN blog yesterday, so to clear up any confusion, SOTM is NOT the last Julia Grey book. It is the last on my first contract, but I'm gearing up to write another one this year, so we've got more Julia coming, I promise!
And on a much less prissy, ranty note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!