There’s something that annoys me greatly, and that’s the misuse of quotation marks. In case you did not know, the only thing quotation marks are used for are quotations where someone said something, or as a mark for inches. Even when a quote means a quote, you attribute it to someone.
I’ve gotten into it with the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Twitter account as they feel the need to use quote marks for emphasis, which you never do unless you’re just wanting to look like someone raised in Pigeon Forge, TN where they use quote marks for everything under the sun for no reason I can determine.
TDOT’s current grammatical sign crimes include “‘look twice’ for motorcycles,” and “‘live to see Tennessee'” with no attribution. They also like throwing random kerning errors on their signs so there are question marks hanging off to the side, but I digress.
Today’s horrible misuse of quotes comes from Wal-Mart and their “Amish potato salad.” You see, in this instance, I am using quotes to describe what Wal-Mart is calling this atrocity upon God’s people. Had they perhaps used quotation marks around this thing, I believe I would have appreciated the irony of the thing and moved on.
When I was just a wee little lad I used to go to my great uncle’s farm where he grew modified corn starch and would churn out gallons of high fructose corn syrup with the remains. He harvested seaweed with his Amish submarine and would lay out the seaweed long enough for the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris to emerge before scraping it and throwing it into the pot to create the xanthan gum.
Oh the nights he used to flavor the food with calcium chloride, while telling us why he didn’t like us English very much, but hoped the sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate he’d harvested last week would preserve us English like it did his potato salad.
I never did understand his customs or why the Amish reject Yellows 1-4 and 6-13 but embrace 5, but his propylene glycol was more than enough to convince me that the Amish had their own thing going there, and as he’d load up some potato salad from his mule-powered refrigerator in farm fresh plastic containers harvested from their petrochemical trees.
In other words Wal-Mart, this one time you can use quotation marks as that’s not Amish… they don’t use paprika. They can also typeset a lot better than whoever churned out that label.