Friday, August 3, 2012

Forward. Full Stop.

I recently read an online article titled, "Punctuation Nerds Stopped by Obama Slogan, 'Forward.'" from the Wall Street Journal. Apparently there is a confusion over the message of the president's newest campaign slogan. As we saw in 2008, Obama is once again narrowing his campaign to a single word. This time, however, his campaign staff have added punctuation to the end of his slogan.
First off, is it really necessary to have punctuation? My first thoughts were that a period was added to present a stronger and more forceful statement, like Forward. BOOM. I feel like campaigns slogans like this are very similar to advertisements. They are simple, easy to remember, and when heard, are often recognized with the person or company. I know after 2008, whenever I heard "change" I pretty much immediately thought of Barack Obama. But now that it's four years later, is this the change America wanted to see? Of those who say yes, his current slogan "Forward." would probably be seen as positive because it suggests that he is moving forward with his change. On the other hand however, for those who disagree with his "change," they would most likely associate "Forward." with the continuance of such change. While my assumptions may not be true, I hope that this year's voters (regardless of their political views) will not place a heavy influence on one.simple.word.
Furthermore, the article suggests that the "Forward." slogan in itself is a contradiction. While it suggests that Obama will forward America's progress (I guess in any sense of the word), it is at the time suggesting that a vote for Mitt Romney will set the nation in reverse. However, the momentum that the slogan is supposed to elicit is abruptly stopped by a period.
Is it grammatically incorrect? Yes. But does it catch your attention? I think so, regardless of your interpretation of its overall message. Interestingly enough, however, the punctuation mark has been dropped in some of his recent ads.

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