Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Spaces, Please!

I owe a debt of gratitude to Loofy today, who alerted me to an almost unbelievable debate raging online about whether one should employ two spaces or just a singleton between sentences.  (Quick now!  How many spaces was that?  And that?  And that?)  Said conflagration - not too strong a word, I assure you - was lit by some neo-revisionist upstart at Slate magazine with nothing better to do, after he was admonished for using a single space between sentences by every single dinner guest around his table one night (thus exposing himself as one of those in-your-face reactionary narcissists who just writes stuff to be disagreeable and get under people's epidermis).  Well, actually his wife less-than-admonished him, but admitted she is a two-spacer too.  The acrimony thus launched has spread like wildfire across North American literati, threatening to consume more pages than next year's U.S. budget.  Is nothing sacred these days?  Suffice it to say, nothing gets published on OH2 (the arbiter of good taste and refinement that it is) with only one space between sentences.  It would simply be wrong.  I know that in today's hustle-bustle world everything needs to be done (and read, and apparently written) yesterday.  And I am quite aware, thank you, that all those extra spaces mean more pages used, more trees sacrificed, blah, blah, blah...  However, the principle reason that the two-space rule must forever be defended at all costs is ... that it is designed to let the human mind savour each sentence just a split-second longer, to let the intricacy of the thought expressed waft over one's whole being before being superceded by the one following, to allow each phrase its moment in the sun ... okay, you get the picture.  And as for the serial comma - don't get me started!