Too Many Damned Comas Anyway!

Punctuation Wars
As exclamation points lie in wait!!


Reflecting on Will Hutton’s article in The Guardian on Sunday (October 8, 2017) entitled “Endlessly refighting old wars does nothing to heal a fractured present”, I was struck with a sense of deja vieux emanating as though from old ghosts, ghosts from Europe’s devastating Thirty Years War which changed the world while never quite ending, or that October preceding the start of The War to End All Wars but which never ended any; or perhaps from that February preceding the start of the apparently unfinished United States Civil War.  Then my thoughts turned to the prescient Yogi Berra, a philosopher inadequately acknowledged and then to Troy’s Cassandra.

I imagined I’d soon wake but no such luck.  Hutton’s article is real but probably too optimistic, its scope limited and its conclusions too reflective of neoliberal propaganda, but still, the problems are real and it echoes auras of legitimacy.  “Populism”, the anti-euphemism for unwelcome and inconvenient “democracy” like calcification denigrating crystals echoes through the article.

The politics of polarization, so prevalent in Clinton – Obama Democratic Party tactics in the United States, are being mirrored elsewhere, perhaps because the current US political climate is a catalyst or  perhaps because US policies and politics since the election of Bill Clinton as president culminating most recently in the destruction of Libya and attempted destruction of Syria, the Ukrainian coup and the Russiagate mirage with the now decades old Israeli inspired Nouveaux Crusades always in the background, have finally opened up Pandora’s long lost box and the world is bound for Hell.

Or perhaps, journalism having given way to propagandist entertainment, twisted new scripts are constantly required.

Symptoms keep propping up and get all the attention while the causes are kept safely out of view so that real solutions can be kept safely at bay.  Unfortunately, that “safety” is completely illusory, good only for conning votes out of gullible electorates.

So, … as if current real crises are not enough, Identity Politics requires reignition of past sectarian conflicts:  “Tear down those monuments, that’ll rile em” and “we’ll show up armed to show them what!!!”  “Compromise?  Never!”  “Trump is about to reinstitute slavery!”  “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming; check under the beds!”

The exclamation point replaces the coma and the period as our most popular punctuation mark!

There are always too many damned comas anyway!

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at or and much of his writing is available through his blog at


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