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Masters of the Obvious

Cullen Murphy of the Atlantic Monthly writes about the growing field of the history of the mundane, which has given us books about pencils and cod. At the end, he suggests topics for further research, including one that should be a pet peeve to all right-thinking people:
The inane use of quotation marks on menus, advertisements, and public signage—STEAKS AND BURGERS "FROM THE GRILL"; WHEN LEAVING THE BATHROOM "PLEASE TURN OFF THE LIGHT"—would be another prime focus of investigation. The development may not seem like an urgent public issue, but we would do well to assess its subtly corrosive effects. Even the cocktail napkins on Air Force One now bear a legend in quotation marks: "Aboard the Presidential Aircraft." What is the semiotic essence of this form of display? If nothing is being quoted, then what is "quotation" coming to mean?

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
marm0t
May. 29th, 2002 08:29 pm (UTC)
Books About Pencils and Cod

Wasn't that a Talking Heads album?
marm0t
May. 29th, 2002 08:31 pm (UTC)
Ok, now that I've gotten the obligatory smartass remark out of my system and have actually read all the way through your post, I am finding it side-splittingly "funny."
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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