The Quick 10: Proper Names With Punctuation
Happy Punctuation Day! To help my fellow word nerds celebrate, today’s Q10 focuses on people and places with strange punctuation in their names. Perhaps I’ll start going by St@cy Conradt…
1. Named after the Charles Kingsley book by the same name, Westward Ho! is the only place in the British Isles with an exclamation mark in its name.
2. Although it started as plain old Saint-Louis-du-Ha Ha, the exclamation marks were added as a local colloquialism. It soon caught on, and now the punctuation is even recognized by the Canadian Post. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is currently the only town in the world with two exclamation marks.
3. Hamilton!, Ohio, has been overly enthusiastic about itself since 1986, when citizens voted to add the emphasis to the town’s name. Alexander Hamilton, whom the town is named after, would surely be pleased. Not everyone is enthused, though: Rand McNally refuses to add the punctuation to its maps.
4. There’s no great story as to why singer India.arie (who was once India Arie) added the dot to her name – she simply wanted to make it more recognizable.
5. Comic book writer Elliot S! Maggin once accidentally typed his name “Elliot S! Maggin” out of habit from using exclamation marks so frequently in his work. He submitted it to his editor without noticing, and his editor loved it. “He goes into the production room and issues a general order that any mention of Elliot Maggin's name will be punctuated with an exclamation mark rather than a period from now on until eternity,” Maggin said.
6. Panic at the Disco was once called Panic! at the Disco – for no good reason, if you believe the Ryan Ross, the band’s guitarist. In 2008, the exclamation mark was dropped. "It was never part of the name to us,” Ross said. “When we started doing new promo stuff for this album, we just told everyone not to use it anymore."
7. P!nk has said that her name is a tribute to Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) from Reservoir Dogs. She dropped the “Mr.” and added the exclamation mark, presumably to emphasize herself as a singer.
8. Jot ‘Em Down, Texas, took its name from a local business that in turn took its name from a store on the radio show Lum and Abner. “Jot ‘Em Down” was the name of the backward hick town on the program. Kind of makes you wonder why the town in Texas wanted to adopt the name, but hey, to each his own…
9. The B-52s. What’s awful about this one is that it originally contained incorrect punctuation. Until 2008, the band was officially known as the B52’s.
10. Half.com, Oregon. It didn’t take much for Halfway, Oregon, to change its name. In exchange for advertising for the website, the town was given $100,000 and computers for the school. I’m surprised GoldenPalace.com hasn’t tried that stunt yet – they’ve put their name on everything else.
Have a lovely Punctuation Day, _flossers!