When I graduated high school (20 years ago this year), the world was relatively simple. Almost nobody had heard of email or the internet. Google was just a really big number, not a really big company. Apple was around, but this was long before they started putting a lowercase “i” in front of all of their products.
Technology has come so far in that time.
It is simply amazing to look back and think of how much has been created, developed, and built into what we know today.
So much of what has been developed (email, social media, text messaging, etc.) was created with the idea and goal of helping us communicate in new and more effective ways.
This is mostly true. I can communicate with text, tweet, Facebook status, blog post, email, or electronic document. I can create these messages with a keyboard, touch screen, or the sound of my own voice. But there is one notable absence.
There is no sarcasm font.
My PC has over 150 different fonts, and none of them are universally known – or even widely used – to convey sarcasm.
If I need to inject emotion or a sarcasm disclaimer into my writing my options are limited. I could use emoticons*, but I’m not a 12-year-old or that person in the office who uses Comic Sans.
*And if one were to use an emoticon, which one conveys sarcasm? The basic smiley? The winking smiley? That one where it looks like a tongue sticking out? All of these stupid emoticons make me 😦
I use hashtags on Twitter, but they really look out of place in an email or text message. The more technically savvy among us use a bracketed faux-html tag like , but I think that is lost on the majority of readers.
We need something better.*
*Oh really? You think we can improve upon the current system of nothing? You’re a dadgum genius, Gump.
There have been a few attempts to get something going. I found an online movement to have left-leaning italics imply sarcasm and snark. But seeing as how the last post was over two years ago, you can guess how well that worked*.
Where do we go from here? I’m hopeful that once we get that healthcare thing resolved, bring peace to the Middle East, and cure cancer we can turn our national attention to the real issue facing our country: trying to figure out if that email or comment on our Facebook status is passive aggressive or sarcastic.