Late last week, in a development sure to shake the rock-and-roll and copyediting worlds, the band Panic! At the Disco announced that it was dropping the exclamation point from its name. "At least for me, it got a little bit annoying to try to write that every time you're typing the name," guitarist Ryan Ross told one of MTV's two! reporters. "It was never part of the name to us." Wha? The punctuation didn't matter? "We wrote it that way once, when we first started the band, and then … people kept writing it that way, and it was a freakin' whirlwind," explained singer Brendon Urie. "We never made a big deal out of pulling it off the name. … I mean, every time I write [our name], I never put an exclamation point in there."
Of course, this announcement has many possible consequences — will the band's old gear become collector's items on the level of, say, Gary Coleman's pants? — but most important, this change will simplify the lives of copy editors everywhere. (Yes, yes, we're on high copy alert lately.) Let's just say that a certain copy editor who proofreads a certain culture blog was driven crazy by the mid-band-name exclamation point, though she did admittedly get a kick out of the potential for headline playfulness. To capitalize the "at" or not to capitalize the "at": That was basically the question. (The answer: before, yes; now, no.) Which is to say that we welcome this grammatical improvement — enough to forgive Panic at the Disco for calling its upcoming album Pretty. Odd. We only pray will.i.am., moe., and !!! will follow suit. —Lori Fradkin