“The Politics of a Comma,” by Daniel Clausen

Jan 8th, 2014 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

I get quite confused by where a comma goes. Does it go here, or there, does it connect an independent clause after or before a conjunction? Does it depend on the conjunction’s politics, smoking habits, or sexual preference? If the conjunction has a history of spousal abuse can it really be trusted with the custody of a dependent clause, and does it deserve the use of a comma? After all, a comma is a privilege, not a right.

The semi-colon, shrewd as it is, advises the comma to hedge its bets, to side neither with the independent clause nor the dependent clause, but to stand hopelessly confused over the edge of sanity. It looks over at the other symbols of punctuation and says with a cruel Karl Rove-ish grin, “Let’s consider the other punctuation marks’ weaknesses. We’ll research them well. Build smear campaigns for all of them and win in a landslide of comma splices. Ha, Ha, Ha.”

And the exclamation mark (never inclined to moderate its actions), armed with a question mark, shoots its period at the semi-colon, spinning the comma into an apostrophe. And the parentheses say, sagacious as always, yet somehow marginalized by their parentheticalism: “Can’t we all just get along?”

And though the question mark knows it’s only a rhetorical statement, it chooses to answer honestly anyway: “No, not really.”


Defenestration-Generic Male 02Daniel Clausen eats his greens and stays in school. That’s why he write so good. His work has been published in Slipstream Magazine, Leading Edge Science Fiction, and Black Petals. He pity the fool who don’t like his writing.

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