The mystical 'black art' of pedantry, thought to have been lost throughout Europe during the Renaissance, is experiencing a resurgence in England and is spreading further through the British Isles thanks to the relative anonymity of the so-called 'interwebs'.
The medieval practice was traditionally thought to have been a force for good, correcting minor mistakes and errors throughout history, but modern pedantry has shown that it prefers working with evil intent. Being able to hide behind pseudonyms and avatars has allowed pedants free reign to spitefully pick holes in everything, from idle conversation to full Ph.D. theses, without fear of reprisals.
'I just can't help myself,' said one self-confessed pedant. 'I can go from calm and placid to completely apoplectic -- that's 'ectic' not 'eptic' -- just reading through one issue of the Guardian. It's something that rushes through me like a wave of grammar-centric hatred. And you'd better bloody make sure that 'it's' has an apostrophe or I'll hunt you down and pick out your eyes.'
Not every practitioner is a literary pedant, with some focusing on numerical faux-pas and others working on a purely factual level. 'There are rare cases -- some of the world's most respected pedants -- where their work encompasses every field imaginable,' said chief UK pedant Stephen Fry. 'Why, only the other day, I found myself on the receiving end of their vicious tongue as they gave me a thorough going over for incorrectly quoting the Latent Heat of Fusion of water as 330 kilo-Joules per kilogram. Any good pedant knows that it's 334 kJ/kg. Dammit, I felt such a buffoon.'
An underground anti-pedantry movement is taking shape in some larger English towns, coming up with methods to keep the pedants busy. 'Several ideas have been mooted,' said one secretive plotter, 'including attempts at getting all of the world's pedants stuck into each other about whether the week starts on a Sunday or a Monday, and whether we should have technically celebrated the new millennium in 2000 or 2001.'
'Our most cunning scheme is likely to be our biggest success,' he continued. 'One of us is going to update our Facebook status to ask whether the the beginning of every Monty Python episode should be 'it's' or 'its'. The viral spread of that being reposted everywhere should have them tied in knots for years.'
[I WOULD DEARLY WELCOME FOLKS LEAFING THROUGH THIS AND MAKING SUGGESTIONS, THANKS!]