“Jay-Z is dead,” I read the other day as I scanned the morning headlines. My heart stopped. I immediately decided the Barclays Center needed to be renamed after him. But before pouring a 40 oz Schlitz on my fire escape, I dug a little deeper and realized – with a huge sigh of relief – that the article referred only to the ignominious death of the HYPHEN IN HIS NAME. I’d ask why this is news, but then someone would tell me it’s because Beyoncé bought Condé Nast. No longer Jay-Z, he is now Jay Z (which, to be honest, isn’t really any easier to type).
This is just another setback in a long line of hits against our good friend, the hyphen. Did you know “today” used to be spelled “to-day?” Then to-day got an agent and a fashion line and gave hyphen the ole heave-ho. If you’re concerned, like I am, about the future of the hyphen – well, it’s likely on its way to the grammar graveyard where unused punctuation marks go to die. Ever heard of the Sheffer Stroke? Exactly. (Clue – it’s not something you’ll find in the Kama Sutra.)
In honor of Jay Z still being alive (but doing annoying things only celebrities do), I give you Ali Graham’s series “99 Problems” in which she illustrates each of Jay Z’s problems.
For the full series, check out the 99 Problems tumblr. Below are my favorites: