Friday, October 14, 2005

Star Tribune Implements New Anti-Capital Letter Policy

MINNEAPOLIS - Taking a bold step into modernity, the publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune completely redesigned the look of the paper this week. Among the most radical changes is the widespread use of lower case letters in places where the upper case was traditionally used.

Star Tribune Columnist and Bob Balaban lookalike James Lileks described the breadth of the overhaul: "The typefaces are different, too. Some of the subheads are in lower-case." He explained that one of the one of the reasons for this radical departure from the norm was to make the paper look "cleaner."

But Editor in Chief Anders Gyllenhaal offered another, more important reason for eschewing the Capital letter: equality.

"We believe that the capitalization of a single letter in a word or sentence unfairly sets that letter above the other letters that surround it. That can have a deleterious effect on the self esteem of the vast majority of letters we use who are forced into "lower-casiness" by rules of grammar that were formulated hundreds of years ago. We need to get with the times, man."

The paper's sports page experimented with a controversial policy of refusing to mention Indian-derived team nicknames in the 1990s. The policy was eventually scrapped because many found the practice to be "stupid."

Gyllenhaal doesn't believe that will be the case with the Star Tribune's revolutionary so-called Typeface Equalization Project:

"We do believe that the day will come when we can eliminate all upper-case letters in our paper. I just don't think the public is ready to accept it yet," said Gyllenhaal. "But more and more people are beginning to realize that just because a letter comes at the beginning of a sentence or a proper name, doesn't make it any more important than any of the other letters in the word or paragraph."

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