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Why The All Caps, Barry?


 

When I was news editor at Hour Magazine way back in the day, I had to deal regularly with what my predecessor called ‘The all-caps crowd.’ These are the people who feel they have to CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE REALLY REALLY MAD AT SOMETHING. The all caps crowd was both a blessing and a curse: its members were prolific writers, so they were a godsend when I had to fill the letters section. Trouble was, they were almost always prolifically bad, and their letters had to be re-typed TO GET RID OF THE MANUFACTURED OUTRAGE FROM THEIR MISSIVES.

Which brings us to a fellow named Barry Wilson. Barry, the Executive Producer of CTV News here in Montreal, has been doing this blogging thing since 2006, which makes him neither a pioneer nor a bandwagoneer (unlike, say, me.) Judging by the site, Barry IS REALLY MAD AND ISN’T GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. If, by some travesty of science, Bill O’Reilly and Andy Rooney had a child, and that child was regularly beaten up in school, he would probably sound a lot like Barry.

Consider a few of these gems, culled from his Postscript blog. On the supposed War On Christmas: “SO TO THOSE WHO WANT TO REMOVE THE WORD CHRISTMAS AND PUT SANTA ON A DIET…GET A LIFE……..”; On high taxes: “WELL, BACK IN MY DAY. THE BEATLES WROTE A SONG CALLED TAXMAN. LET ME TELL YOU HOW IT WILL BE; THERE’S ONE FOR YOU, NINETEEN FOR ME. CAUSE I’M THE TAXMAN.” And on his obsession of choice, Quebec separatism: “THE PEQUISTES ARE ALMOST WETTING THEIR PANTS.”

He even does film reviews (“NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN IS TRULY ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE MOVIES I HAVE SEEN IN SOME TIME.”) and is prone to philosophical introspection: (“SOMETIMES THE THING WE LEARN FROM HISTORY IS THAT WE LEARN NOTHING FROM HISTORY.”)

A half hour on his site will garner you a headache and the creeping feeling that Barry yells a lot at work. It made me wonder: Is Barry okay? Have his years with Montreal’s highest-rated English news show finally gone to his head? Are all the CFCF keyboards broken?

Turns out the ANSWER TO ALL OF THE ABOVE IS ‘NO’. You see, Barry does his ‘Postscript’ shtick on-air, every Friday night. His blog entries are word for word scripts of what he says on air, and they are capitalized SO BARRY CAN BETTER READ THEM OFF THE TELEPROMPTER. Try it for yourself. Go here, and then go here. You can either read the spittle-inducing, perpetually outraged posts yourself, or have Barry do so in his mellifluous Barry-tone.

Then you can go and down a handful of Advil and pray that Barry one day finds the caps lock key.


 
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Why The All Caps, Barry?

  1. When your purpose is to manufacture outrage out of nothing you have to rely on cheap parlour tricks to make it seem more outrageous than it really is. And I think we need to pray that Barry doesn’t discover how to use font sizes and colours on his blog. If he ever does you’ll need a morphine drip to recover.

  2. If you allow me, I’ll take Mr Wilson’s defense, since we work together. The aging software we use, Newstar, requires us to type IN CAPS to fit the teleprompter’s requirements. Barry simply cuts and paste his scripts to his blog. Sure, he could re-type in lower-case. But he certainly doesn’t use the caps for effect as you imply.

    Regards,

    Stephane

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