....has to be:-
"Steep is the descent into orthographic antinomianism."
I just love it :-)
The article is reproduced below, original source was here.
Against Camel Case
By CALEB CRAIN
Published: November 23, 2009
As you probably know, the California-based company Apple makes a portable communication device — a device that an acquaintance of mine whose first language is not English distinguishes as a “self” phone. Though proper nouns conventionally begin with a capital letter, Apple spells the device’s trademark with an initial lowercase i, followed by an uppercase P. Thus styled, the word has a hump in the middle. I could print it here to show you, but I refuse to allow my prose to be so disfigured.
On account of the hump, midword capitals are sometimes called “camel case.” Other terms include “intercaps” and “incapping.” There is some precedent for the unsightliness. Dictionaries list a variety of apple known as a McIntosh, for example, and the language has long tolerated such identities as Ian McEwan, Louis MacNeice and even Myles na gCopaleen. In my considered opinion, the juxtaposition of majuscule and minuscule in a personal name may be safely indulged as a prerogative of the human being, with all his individual strangeness, but to extend the same license to the fruits, literal and figurative, of human labor is another matter. Steep is the descent into orthographic antinomianism.
It’s hard to say when the humps began to multiply, but in the 1950s, Bank of America dropped its “of” and crushed the remaining two words of its name together, as William Safire recollected in this column some decades later. (The bank has since thought better of the experiment.) In 1979 the credit card formerly known as Master Charge changed its last name and relinquished its interstice. In the 1980s and ’90s, word spacing became seriously endangered, probably because, as the magazine New Scientist has noted, the most charismatic capitalists of those decades came from Silicon Valley, where software languages often required them to omit word spaces. To save their eyesight, programmers injected capitals into their compounds, and as they ascended to cultural hegemony, “Word” was sealed to “Perfect,” “Quick” soldered to “Time” and “Power” married to “Point.”
Camel case even infiltrated literature. “Deviance or innovation?” Ron Silliman asked in his 1996 poem “Under,” before imagining himself living the erotic life of the insertive capital: “How sweetly, smoothly I slip inside of you where I belong.” Copy editors, meanwhile, were overwhelmed. At first, sentries at The New York Times allowed interior capitals only when the second element of a compound was a proper noun — when the word crammed next to “Bank” was “America,” for example. But in November 1999, the newspaper capitulated (as it were). Thereafter every brand name was permitted up to three idiosyncratic majuscules. Three! And why not let the dog sleep on the sofa? “Traditionalists,” admitted the magazine Copyediting in January 2008, “have lost the battle.” Most authorities now instruct writers to capitalize whatever the corporations tell them to. Writers of the world, fight back!
Word spaces should not be taken for granted. Ancient Greek, the first alphabet to feature vowels, could be deciphered without word spaces if you sounded it out, and did without them. Spaces or centered points divide words on early Roman monuments, but Latin, too, ceased to separate words by the second century. The loss is puzzling, because the eye has to work much harder to read unseparated text. But as the paleographer Paul Saenger has explained, the ancient world did not desire “to make reading easier and swifter.” There were then few books, and they were read by few people, who expected to read aloud and aspired to commit the words to memory. Reading was a public act, and the lack of word spacing forced it to stay that way for centuries. Medieval monks had to be put in stone-walled carrels so they could read aloud the books that they were copying without disturbing one another.
Word spacing returned, Saenger theorizes, more or less by accident. In Ireland and England during the seventh and eighth centuries, local priests had so much trouble with Latin that spaces were added to their liturgical texts as a crutch. Clerics discovered that reading became more fluent for everyone, because the eye can recognize separated words as distinctive shapes. Monks were able to copy manuscripts in silence, in accordance with many of their vows, and privacy intensified the experience of devotional reading. The innovation flourished and by the 13th century was standard in Latin everywhere. Angels in manuscript illustrations used to speak into the ears of scribes; now they presented them with books to read for themselves. Clerics tackled more complex texts, in greater numbers, and Saenger argues that silent reading seeded the flowering of medieval theology known as scholasticism.
It had side effects. “Psychologically, silent reading emboldened the reader,” Saenger explains, “because it placed the source of his curiosity completely under his personal control.” Heresy became easier to communicate, and Saenger postulates that word spacing eventually made possible phenomena like irony, pornography and freedom of conscience.
In other words, though camel case may have been spurred by recent technology, its effect is regressive — in fact, medieval. It harks back to an era when reading was effortful, public and loud — like a visit to a contemporary shopping mall. Perhaps camel case, like intrusive music, baffling floor plans and aggressive fragrances, is deployed to weary and bewilder us, to render us so addled that we have to say corporations’ trademarks aloud to be sure of what we’re looking at. It doesn’t have to be this way. Put some distance between you and your Master Card; don’t let your Iphone make the rules. You don’t have to buy their language. It already belongs to you.
Caleb Crain is the author of “American Sympathy: Men, Friendship and Literature in the New Nation.”