Yes, I purposely wrote the title of this post like an old Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novel.
Anyway, this afternoon I ran across a story on NPR about Kate McCulley, the Grammar Vandal. Just the sort of thing a writer would love! I highly recommend listening to the broadcast -- it's hilarious and oh, so true.
The headline caught my attention because of how frequently grammar and spelling issues have been popping up in my life lately. For example, Kathy Kehrli of Screw You! recently wrote a post about comma usage: A Compelling Case for the Comma. Kathy talked about how the comma is starting to fall out of popular usage, and linked to a related article. Several other writers (including Yours Truly) commented to proclaim themselves loyal followers of the comma.
In addition, some of you probably remember my reference to the multiple grammatical errors in the invitation to my high school reunion. For example, the invitation began with the sentence, "It's been 10 year's." After that, there is an incomplete sentence, a word that shouldn't be there at all, an inappropriately capitalized word, a word missing the "ed" ending, a misspelled proper name, and several uses of the wrong form of "their." And that's just the announcement page! There were issues on the RSVP form, too, but I can't remember all of them.
With all this recent history, when I saw the NPR headline "Grammar Vandal Goes on Vigilante Comma Crusade," I just had to click on it. It turns out this Grammar Vandal is a 22-year-old English major living in Boston. Unlike those of us who simply gripe about spelling and grammar errors we encounter in our daily life, Kate McCulley does something about it: She fixes the problems, and to he!l with the consequences!
I think I've found a new hero. McCulley keeps a blog, The Grammar Vandal, of which I am hereafter a regular reader. She has been featured in The Boston Globe as well as on NPR. I guess defacing public signs for the greater good of humanity is an effective marketing technique!