Raymond Hettinger added the comment:
It's unfortunate that the automatic scalar/tuple switchover design doesn't play
well with start-args. We have the same issue arising in a number of places
(for example, min(*args) isn't happy when args is of length 1).
While inconvenient for variable length argument lists, I don't think the
proposed solution is clean. As it currently stands, the signature is
reasonably simple, easy to explain, and doesn't depend on exact type checks
(like %-formatting does with tuple/dict arguments).
Instead of contorting the signature for itemgetter(), it would be better if the
use case were to be addressed with the existing language features:
>>> t = tuple('abcdefghi')
>>> for columns in (, , [2,4], [2,4,6]):
print(tuple(t[i] for i in columns))
('c', 'e', 'g')
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