From the Editor’s Desk 56


Where does our inner grammarian come down on the rules? Long time aficionados of my columns know that I believe meaning is a trump card. If the meaning the user wishes to convey is conveyed to the audience then their usage was in fact grammatically correct. This stance allows me to accept both the Oxford comma and Faulkner’s first ninety pages of The Sound and the Fury, wherein the narrator, Benjy, is mentally handicapped and Faulkner writes in a first person stream of consciousness from the perspective of a person of diminished mental capacity.

Typing those very words, I must digress for a moment from my stated purpose of considering the drawing of grammatical lines to note that Faulker’s narrative challenges one’s very conception of words like “handicapped” and “diminished” making a most profound case for usages like “differently-abled” and “unique.” Benji’s perspective is not limited, but delimited and delineated. Faulkner creates Benji’s perspective with a strength and power of feeling that matches what any one of us might see and feel now, and surely captures what we remember from our childhoods.


Not entirely differently, the grammatical queries I am pondering today are pressed upon me by my interaction with adolescents. I work with high school kids on their college applications. Consequently I do a lot of texting, beyond that I am a heavy Twitter user. In both those places, the rules of grammar are set aside like manners might have been ignored by Old West fieldhands.

I noted and accepted the death of the apostrophe in such forums in these pages more than four years ago. Now I am thinking about caving in on “alright” too. Already, MS Word no longer underlines it as a spelling error. I can find no usage distinction to parse between “alright” and “all right” that differs around their spelling. It is not a legitimate compound word, but accepting that meaning is trump, and none is lost, perhaps in our new paradigms it is simply acceptable that character conservation is important. The more bits we store on server farms, the greater the demands on the power grid. Perhaps saving all those “l’s” will one day save an ecosystem.

I am surely willing to give up the double space after the period to the same cause.


“From the Editor’s Desk” is written by our Editor: Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel



Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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