Grammar Nazi's Retirement Leaves Discussion List in Lurch
Brandon Bruit didn't start out to become the editor of the Friends Of
Dade County e-mail list. He signed up for the Yahoo! group, which
boasts 200 members from all over the world -- all, like Brandon, hoping
to reconnect with childhood pals who moved away from the area.
Any relative success in that area Brandon has encountered (including
a lengthy online flirtation with a grade-school girlfriend) is overshadowed
by the important role he has played in ensuring accuracy in grammar and
punctuation on the group.
"At first I thought folks would resent my implacable corrections, but
they've all been just great." But now it is time to move on, he says,
and leave these duties to a yet-to-be-determined successor. He will
unsubscribe from the e-mail group sometime next week, since it has
recently become a haven for "die-hard Dolphins fans who can't shut up
about Ricky Williams," and, perhaps not coincidentally, have extreme
difficulty in constructing a grammatic sentence.
Group members, interviewed via e-mail, were unanimous in their
reactions. "Oh, wow, who's going to point out our misplaced
apostrophe's now?" wrote Jason Freisten: "I don't know what I'm going to do
without Bran's wry pointers on proper usage and form."
Poster Lisa de los Santos agreed. "I'll never forget the time I
carelessly used 'their' in place of 'there' in a post to the group," said Lisa.
"Bran's input was invaluable in clarifying the difference, which maybe
somebody on the list didn't know about or something. So, yes, invaluable."
Bruit has his detractors, however. Says Meg Witliffe, group member since
1996, "Bran is just trying to provide a service, and that's always
appreciated, of course -- his reliance on the Chicago Manual
of Style, though, is antiquated."
It is believed that a successor will become apparent soon enough, with
displaced Dade-Countians signing up for the list from their
out-of-state school connections. It can't come soon enough for
list member Ron Moore, who said, "My fingers itch every time I see a misplaced
comma or, worse, a misspelled word. Before, I knew that Bran would be
there. I don't have time to do the job, but it's very very very very
important so I hope somebody shows up soon."
(Reported by Brian Jones)
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