Debbie, a friend of mine from college, is an excellent singer. But the standards in her musical family were high. She told the story of how her uncle, a virtuoso clarinetist, would listen to her singing as they were driving and say “Debbie, you’re modulating!” She wasn’t rehearsing. She wasn’t training her voice. She was in the car, in transit between Points A and B, making a joyful noise. And old Uncle Perfect Pitch just had to poop on her singing. Silence was his reward, may it serve him well.
Does pedantry stem from a desire for excellence or a salve for insecurity? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but in general it’s the worst kind of tedium. In my opinion, rule-following en route to joy is altogether worthy. Rule-following en route to a job is often necessary. But rule-following to satisfy pedants is a misery. Sometimes joy is remote from us, but too often those who have lost all joy compensate by hardening their grip on rules. Any stick will do when you need to beat someone for your sins.
They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs… But do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language?
Now give the whole thing a listen and try to forget that it sounds an awful lot like John Cleese.