Madame Michel, Would you be so kind as, to sign for the packages from the dry cleaner’s this afternoon? I'll pick them up at your lodge this evening. I was not prepared for such an underhanded attack. I collapse in shock on the nearest chair. I even begin to wonder if I’m going mad. Does this have the same effect on you, when this sort of thing happens?
Let me explain:
The cat is sleeping.
You’ve just read a harmless little sentence, and it has not caused you any pain or sudden fits of suffering, has it? Fair enough.
Now read again:
The cat, is sleeping.
Let me read that so that there is no cause for ambiguity.
The cat comma is sleeping.
Would you be so kind as, to sign for.
On one hand we have an example of a prodigious use of the comma that takes great liberties with language, as said commas have been inserted quiet unnecessarily, but to great effect:
I have been much blamed, both for war, and for peace……
And on the other, we have this dribbling scribbling on vellum, courtesy of Sabine Pallieres, this comma slicing the sentence in half with all the trenchancy of a knife blade:
Would you be so kind as, to sign for the packages from the dry cleaner’s?
If Sabine Pallieres had been a good Portuguese woman born under a fig tree in Faro, or a concierge who’d just arrived from the high-rise banlieues of Paris, or if she were the mentally challenged member of a tolerant family who had taken her in out of the goodness of their hearts, I might have whole-heartedly forgiven such a guilty nonchalance. But Sabine Pallieres is wealthy. Sabine Pallieres is the wife of a bigwig in the arms industry, Sabine Pallieres is the mother of a cretin in a conifer green duffle coat who, once he has his requisite degree and has obtained his Political Science degree, will in likelihood go on to disseminate the mediocrity of his paltry ideas in a right-wing ministerial cabinet, and Sabine Pallieres is, moreover, the daughter of a nasty woman in a fur coat who sits on the selection committee of a very prestigious publishing house and who is always so overloaded with jewels that there are days when I fear that she will collapse from the sheer weight of them.
For all these reasons, Sabine Pallieres has no excuse. The gifts of fate come at a cost. For those who have been favored by life’s indulgences, rigorous respect in matters of beauty is non-negotiable requirement. Language is a bountiful gift and its usage, an elaboration of community and society, is a sacred work. Language and usage evolve over time: elements change, are forgotten or reborn, and while there are instances where transgression can become the source of even greater wealth, this does not alter the fact that to be entitled to the liberties of playfulness or enlightened misusage when using language, one must first and foremost swear ones total allegiance. Society’s elite, those whom fate has spared from the servitude that is the loot of the poor, must, consequently, shoulder the double burden of worshipping and respecting the splendors of language. Finally, Sabine Pallieres’s misuse of punctuation constitutes an instance of blasphemy that is all the more insidious when one considers that there are marvelous poets born in stinking caravans or high-rise slums who do have for beauty the sacred respect that is so rightfully owed.
To the rich, therefore, falls the burden of Beauty. And if they cannot assume it, then they deserve to die.