Tuesday, September 25

More fun with pop-culture punctuation!!!!!!!

Not too long ago I petitioned Fergie, the Duchess of Skank, to reconsider her careless usage of pronouns in "Big Girls Don't Cry," the official radio song of Summer 2007. Sadly, she has not responded to my letter, so I am forced to move on to even more trivial matters: Good Luck Chuck.

While I have tried my best to ignore Dane Cook for the past two years so as to not sully my irrational sentimental attachment to him, it has become damn near impossible to do so what with his newfound movie-stardom and his latest flick, in which he gets to ogle a klutzy Jessica Alba for an hour and a half.

See, this whole time, thanks to the ubiquitous previews, I thought the movie was about a normal dude who falls for an impossibly beautiful yet accident-prone hottie. You know, like, Good luck with that, Chuck. So the lack of a comma irked me. But then I find out that the movie is actually about a guy who's a good-luck charm for women: Sleep with him and the next dude you're with turns out to be your true love. So not Good Luck, Chuck but Good-Luck Chuck.

Either way, I will chuck something through the goddamn window if Hollywood copy writers don't get on the em-effing ball.

Instant update: So, not long after I hit "publish," I started doubting myself. (Lately, the more sure I've been about something, the less likely it has been to actually be.) Grammar wonks, am I right on this? Or am I misapplying the compound modifier hyphen rule?

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Blogger fieldguidetomemphis said...

well let me tell you this is *just* the kind of grammar quandary i like to ponder at almost 1a. i'm sure fearlessvk, cunning linguist herself, could weigh in as well. here's my two cents:

you were expecting a comma (as in "good luck, chuck") and you think it needs a hyphen to make the point that you're not wishing chuck well but rather that he's your dating amulet...

what if they had put a hyphen in the title? ("good-luck chuck") i think that would have raised more eyebrows among the GP than omitting it. perhaps they were relying on the garden path catchphrase (good luck charm - the ch in charm and the ch in chuck) to cue people to the fact that he's a charm not the recipient of well-wishing.

would it have been different if the title were "good luck steve"?

i consulted with eats, shoots and leaves (a must read for any recovering grammarian) and no doubt lynne truss would want to weigh in as well.

Wed Sep 26, 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Squeaky Wheel said...

You're TECHNICALLY correct on the hyphenated modifier, but read the movie title out loud, just straight. It naturally comes out sounding hyphenated. Thus that's why it's left out in this case. It sounds stupid and simplistic, but no one likes to use hyphens nowadays, because they "require too much thinking" from the people who read the words that are hyphenated. And Hollywood wants to make money, not make you think.

Wed Sep 26, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

It's even simpler than that: Movie marquee letter sets don't come with hyphens or dashes! ;-)

Wed Sep 26, 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

I'd say no hyphen. You wouldn't hyphenate a phrase like "well balanced breakfast." It seems like you would, but you wouldn't.

Grammar is an unruly planet. If you go there, it's best to just memorize everyone's face.

Wed Sep 26, 10:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. It should be hyphenated, to prevent the very confusion you identified.

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar

Thu Sep 27, 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Tangential said...

I'd have to disagree on the hyphen. You'd put a hyphen with a compound modifier to clear up confusion. You're not saying he's a 'good' luck Chuck or some other crazy thing. There's no mistaking what's being said, thus there's no need for a hyphen.

Personally, I'd argue that the phrase "good luck" is redundant based on the use of the word "luck". Sadly, English separates "luck" into both good and bad forms. I think it's not luck if it's bad, but that's just my own opinion.

Thu Sep 27, 01:36:00 PM  

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