Succumbing to the Madness

Today we had a quiz on MLA vs. APA format in my rhetoric class. I read through the formats about three times, made a table of differences, and then made extra notes to prepare. Predictably, the quiz was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be – it was for all of 5 points and I got all of them. I expect at least three people will make fun of me for this.

The really freaky thing was when we discussed answers right afterwards. You should have seen the sheer enthusiasm with which everyone in class discussed the errors in the MLA formatted extract, or the truly earnest questions some of us asked about in-text citations. In the grand scheme of things, no one gives a rat’s posterior whether you write P. Shelley or Shelley P. in your parentheses. Or if ellipsis must be enclosed in square brackets. Or if the indentation is 1/8 of an inch or 1/4 of an inch.

But every. Single. One. Of. Us. Does.

Right now I’m at the brink of the insanity, half wondering at the sheer pointlessness of this stuff, half drawn into the whirlpool of glee at seeing a properly formatted Works Cited page. But I think I’m slowly succumbing to this madness.

I actually think we all feel safer sleeping in our beds because someone out there cares about the publisher’s date coming after the author’s name. You might not give a crap yourself, but someone refuses to succumb to anarchy and chaos, and has meticulously wrestled all the commas, spaces and references into submission.

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