A Time of Unprecedentedly “Unprecedented Times”—A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 3 Contents Linguimericks—Book ७३—O Morphology!

/nuz baɪts/

Not a wire news service but still more reliable than most newspapers.

Global Capitalism in Crisis

In recent weeks, in yet another crisis for global capitalism, our /nuz dɛsk/ has received reports of discontent, unrest and even whining across several industries in the US and beyond. From what our Correspondent Corps has been able to gather, back in January, an email went out from the head of finance of a Michigan tire factory addressed, “Dear All, ...” This sparked immediate angry protests from the production line floor, with the Union representative, Dave McDave, calling for industry-wide action. In his words: “Blue collar workers should no longer have to tolerate the receipt of emails addressed to All with a capitalized A. All here is a quantifier, not a name, and as such should be typed or written in minuscule. America’s industrial workers didn’t spent time in High School reading To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men (as well as other books without animals in their titles) only to be addressed as adults in such an illiterate and even insulting manner. These kinds of capitalist abuses should be a thing of the past in 2020.”

Although initially seen as a one-off event, a video of McDave addressing the shop floor went viral and hashtags and Facebook pages have popped up at an alarming rate across the English-speaking world, and probably the other parts as well. Indeed, our Correspondent Corps became cognizant yesterday of a Manila-based movement calling itself Workers’ Action for Accuracy of Capitalisation in Emails Etc. (WAACEE). In line with McDave’s original beef, the group demands that emails using all, both, each and other quantifiers in the addressee line should retain the minuscule version. However, WAACEE also claims that the capitalization of non-personal quantifiers effectively constitutes the personification of the set of individuals and thereby can be viewed as a depersonalisation of the dignity of the individual working man and woman.

Our /nuz dɛsk/ will of course continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds. The commentary for the time being, however, should be that this demonstrates once again how foundational apparently minor matters of linguistic accuracy and propriety can be for the international economic order.

A Time of Unprecedentedly “Unprecedented Times”A Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
LinguimericksBook ७३O Morphology!
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 3 Contents