Monday, January 24, 2011

Quote Unquote

I saw a handmade sign at the magazine rack of my local 7-Eleven.  Let me reproduce it for you exactly:

Do Not read the Magazine's "Please" they are for "Sale"

Let's ignore the floating capitalization, the lack of periods or exclamation points, the apostrophe meant to signify a plural and get down to the main business--the use of quotation marks.

I was taken aback.  Was the sign writer simply quoting a couple words her boss said to her in a longer harangue?  Was she being sly, implying they really didn't believe in being courteous, and, anyway, you could always steal the magazines and read them outside?

I get the feeling the anonymous author uses quotation marks for emphasis.  I suppose italics weren't possible, but she really should learn about underlining.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is creepy like word verification is creepy--too many coincidences.

About the only friends joke I remember is Joey Tribbiani learning about air quotes and then starting to use them all the time--always on the wrong words.

Maybe Larry David left the joke on a knapkin in the NBC cafeteria.

3:19 AM, January 24, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It reminds of a great skit from The Electric Company (Morgan Freeman as "Easy Reader" I think) about the ambiguous nature of words without proper punctuation.

In court, his defense to a trespass charge was that he read the warning sign as

"Private Property? No. Fishing allowed."

6:02 AM, January 24, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firesign Theater? Cleese?

"What's that lying in the road? A head?"

"What's THIS thing called, love?"

And the ever popular, "Don't. Stop."

9:44 AM, January 24, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite Joey gag from Friends also deals with the use of language. They're in the coffee house and Joey wants a section of the newspaper. He asks "can I have the comics?" The reply is "This is the New York Times." He says, "Okay, MAY I have the comics."

11:39 AM, January 24, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to hand it to children's television trying to undermine property rights

1:04 PM, January 24, 2011  

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