Who Gives a F*** About An Oxford Comma?

That’s the question posed by New York band Vampire Weekend in a song of the same name, and posed in turn to a bunch of wordie types by Michael Hogan of Vanity Fair.

The panel included Grant Barrett of Double-Tongued (answer: “a little bit”), V.F.’s own copy editor, Peter Devine (“a modest-size fuck”), and David Rose, a V.F. writer and actual Oxford grad. Perhaps not coincidentally, Rose was vociferous, ardent even, in the comma’s defense, professing to also give “a damn and a bean.”

Vampire Weekend’s lead singer, Ezra Koenig, says “the song is more about not giving a fuck than about Oxford commas.” But Ezra, it’s just so rare that anyone outside of our tiny world even knows what an Oxford comma is. Yours is almost certainly the first song ever to mention it. Even if you are using it as a metaphor for small-minded failure to see the forest, please, let us have this little moment.

Vampire Weekend is having an extended moment, and their new record is great, laced with Afro-pop and ska beats, twinkling guitar and piano parts, and lyrics that are literate without being all Professor Von Schmartzenpanz about it. The band themselves claim to be “specialists in the following styles: ‘Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa’, ‘Upper West Side Soweto’, ‘Campus’, and ‘Oxford Comma Riddim.'”

Fred Wilson, blogging about their record release show last night at the Bowery Ballroom (funny that they’re just getting around to releasing a CD), has posted an MP3 of “Who Gives a Fuck About An Oxford Comma.” I don’t want to hotlink him, but it’s worth heading over for a listen.