Without punctuation, we have nothing.All day, it's been running through my head. First, I think, you just gotta figure "that's a joke", then you worry it isn't. Later, I was wondering what variant could push the absurdometer to the red line:
- Without toe jam, we have nothing!
- Without the little container of corn starch in the cupboard, we have nothing!
- Without "you might be a redneck if" jokes, we have nothing!
Slowly, it's dawning on me that what's so striking about the use of "without X, we have nothing" is how it's traditionally been used: Check around a little and you get love, hope and dreams filling that X. And we have nothing surely triggers a continuation with to fear but fear itself. These are all matters with some metaphysical heft. I'm fairly sure you have never been so high that punctuation made that list. And you don't know anybody who has.
This 'vandal' (never to be confused with real Vandals — take your pick of here or here) is aiming to parlay this trivial little defacement into a moment of Paris Hilton-like infamy, so maybe it's part of the joke. Good luck on that whole career deal there, Kate.
Update, July 18, 10:15 am: Jan Freeman (who works in Boston, after all) has posted a set of blogospheric reactions to this case, here.