TV On The Radio’s Commagate: The Plot Thickens,

Christopher R. Weingarten | October 2, 2008 1:00 am

Last month, we noted that, despite media outlets from Pitchfork to Paste to USA Today claiming there was a comma in the title of TV On The Radio’s triumphant new record Dear Science, there was no punctuation to be found in the album’s actual name. (He missed MTV, Blender, and AllMusic, all of which showed their commitment to the cuddly clause-container weeks after his expose broke.)

“STOP TAKING YOUR CUE FROM THE PRESS RELEASE. YOU ARE BEING UNNECESSARILY MANIPULATED INTO POOR GRAMMATICAL CHOICES,” the blogger who initially pointed this out wrote, pointing out that the album cover–which leaked in August–had, in fact, “NO MOTHERFUCKING COMMA.”

Actually, no press release at any time had a comma on it. A steady stream of official press releases, official listening party invitations and official tour dates from TV On The Radio’s label, Interscope, had arrived in writers’ inboxes since July, but they were suspiciously comma-free, with the possible exception of the e-mails’ BCC: fields. Seriously, how did this whole mess start?

Turns out it’s yet another case of Pitchfork saying “jump” and everyone else saying “how high.” According to the band’s publicist, TVOTR management had initially claimed that the album’s title would contain a comma, but eventually the band decided against adding the punctuation. A news item about the album–which said “the comma is indeed part of the title”–ran on Pitchfork in July; the first official press release announcing the album went out a week later, and the comma was gone, as it would be on every single press release, MySpace update, and official Web site transmission, as well as, eventually, the album art. There were no commas from the band, its management, or Interscope. But somehow everyone picked up the ball and ran with it, squealing “Yay! Talking points! Potential for hilarious parentheticals!” The New York Times gave our pugnacious punctuation the most shine, in a huge feature that demanded no less than three corrections about non-comma-related things. Even TVOTR’s own Kyp Malone was confused by that point, telling Gothamist, “I don’t know that there actually is a comma in the title. There may have been at some point in the construction of the art work on the cover.”

Point being: Dear Media, (the comma is intentional) Stop repeating everything you read on Pitchfork. Seriously, you might accidentally convince people that Titus Andronicus is a good band.

P.S. Here are some extra commas we had lying around: ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,