POINTS POINTLESS

There has crept into general usage recently . . . a form of punctuation . . . consisting of three dots . . . that give a specious appearance of dignity and importance to their literature . . . and are felt to enhance the impression that the writer strives to create . . . In advertising puffs . . . especially in advertising snowy linen . . . and beautiful silver . . . and trips to the Riviera . . . and other nice things . . . it has superseded all other punctuation. . . . But it is also being widely used in novels . . . where the comma has gone into a decline . . . and the reader reads in a coma . . . Even in the psychological study. . The Locomotive God . . . the interesting and painful experiences of the author's youth . . . are separated not by the passage of time . . . but by dots in groups of three. . . . Nor are they the type of interesting experience that was some years back . . . expressed in dots and asterisks . . . rather than separated by them.

This does not mean, except literally, that the art of punctuation has gone into its dotage. It is similar to the Victorian's excessive and indiscriminate use of the dash, especially in letters which amuse when exhumed by biographers. And as one lapses into the more familiar denotation, it is easy to sce how this new usage follows in the tradition of moving pictures and illustrated papers, in lifting from the people the burden of thought. The comma brings the reader to a sharp pause, and a consideration of the ground covered, but these other tracks flow gently on through vague words of pleasant connotation, rather impressively indeed. And unprovoked to thought, the reader can wander after them through a haze of prettily blurred pictures. This is no solemn warning however, for the method is used only in the attempt to be deceptively impressive, and it is doubtful if earnest writers, or weary printers, or impatient readers, will long be bothered with it.