Moultrie Observer


February 23, 2013

Picky, picky, picky! Here's my rebuttal

MOULTRIE — For about the fourth time now, I have been admonished anonymously for not capitalizing the word “internet.”

And while I appreciate anyone paying close attention to my scribbling, I would like to announce that I do not intend to capitalize “internet” for the simple reason that there is no rationale for doing so.

The “internet” is a communications venue much like the telephone, the telegraph and tell the town gossip, none of which are capitalized.

I have no idea who decided “internet” should be capitalized. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Al Gore, and I know for sure it wasn’t George W. Bush.

You see we don’t even capitalize “president” unless it’s preceding a name presenting the title ... as in President Barack Obama. And we don’t capitalize “pope” unless it’s in a title position as in Pope Billy Ray Jaworkski. We also don’t capitalize “reverend” except in front of the name.

Now you may have read on the “internet” that it is supposed to be capitalized. Well, you may also be familiar with that State Farm commercial on television that advises you not to believe everything you see or read on the “internet.” You know, the one where the pretty young woman introduces her French model she met on the “internet.” A hairy-legged fry cook from Texas takes her by the arm and says with a twang, “bonjour.”

I know we need guidelines for our language, particularly our written language. But some of them may be rather stiff.

On a personal note, before I would capitalize “internet,”  I would capitalize “trolling motor.”

I once wrote a story in which I referred to “kitty litter.” I got an official letter from a company that reminded me that this was a trademark name and should bare the trademark emblem and be capitalized. I said no problem, I’ll just change it to “cat litter.” And I did. I don’t mean any disrespect to the Kitty Litter people, but I’m not going to pay homage to something a cat pees in, regardless of how effective it is. But in the spirit of supporting American-style capitalism, I wish their stocks well.

On the other hand, there is Coke. Many years ago in a legal battle the Coca Cola Co. won the legal right for Coke and Coca-Cola to be used interchangeably with trademark protection. I probably would have objected to that until I put a pack of salted peanuts in my Coke and so enjoyed that marriage of carbonation and protein. I hold Orange Crush in the same high esteem.

Now back to rules that make sense. I get hundreds and hundreds of emails each week. You would think that by now everyone would know that “I” is always capitalized when used as the personal pronoun. It may be more difficult just using your thumbs ... but hey dude, give it a try.

Also, a few periods and commas might be thrown in as well, just so I can follow your train of thought. Also, one exclamation point is quite enough. Five don’t make it sound any louder!

One day I was reading copy and a debate arose over whether something should be referred to as “a historic structure” or “an historic structure.” I settled the argument with a “damned old building” which apparently was correct because it was subsequently torn down.

Now back to “internet.” As I said, I use it every day. It’s a blessing and a curse. Or as someone once put it, the good news is that it puts volumes of data at our fingertips. The bad news is that it puts volumes of data at our fingertips. And lots of photos too.

I look at the “internet” as two soup cans with a string attaching them ... only they are Ninja class and they are on steroids.

And I’m capitalizing Ninja because I’ve seen what those guys can do with a really sharp sword.

Ah sooooo!


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