Dat's apostrophe abuse



File this under our "the rest of the country doesn't understand us" category. The good folks at USA Today made a feeble, misguided attempt to grammaticize the beloved slogan that manages to simultaneously be a rallying cry, threat and greeting:


What's up with the apostrophe? It left me and a few other Saints fans scratching our fleur-de-lis cap-wearing heads. Any AP Stylebook-toting grammar junkie knows that apostrophes stand in for omitted letters. But what has been omitted from "Who Dat?" There is no "is" in "Who Dat," never has been. "Who Dat," a harmonious marriage between the rounded low-back vowel sound in "who" and the dynamic plosive action of "dat," achieves perfection in two syllables, without even the grammatical ghost of an "is" to sully its symmetry. USA Today might have been better off writing "Who Dat! [sic]"

Still, who can argue with a magazine that lovingly commemorates the Saints' "magical" championship season? Perhaps it's unfair to expect "America's Sports Authority" to be "America's Dat Authority." And perhaps it's better to accept the offering with goodwill, like I do when my friends from the Midwest put corn in the jambalaya. They're trying, even if they don't get the flavor exactly right.

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