To all the millions of people out there who have never written an email, I hope I can properly explain how difficult it is to compose sarcastic phrases in our daily correspondence without a standardized sarcasm mark. Even if I meant that last sentence sarcastically, you would never know, right? Even though you’re really smart.
Thanks to the rise of extremely humorous writers like myself, the need for a sarcasm mark has never been more critical to our online communications. The French poet Alcanter de Brahm proposed the “irony point” (left) as early as the end of the 19th century. <sarcasm>Other people who lead full social lives tried universally-understood solutions that caught on like wildfire.</sarcasm> But it wasn’t until the advent of emoticons that we truly got a chance to express our snarktastic selves. Unfortunately, emoticons like that have no place in professionally-written publications. ;-P
A piece in Slate five years ago proposed an upside-down exclamation mark as the “sarcasm point,” even remarking (sarcastically) that it should be copyrighted. Well, now a company named SarcMark wants to sell its proposed mark (above) for $1.99, far less than the cost of the JokeyAmpersand I purchased last year (check it out, it’s really impressive: &!). Yes, I think this SarcMark is a steal. Not only is this clearly the most highly-evolved, intelligent icon I’ve ever seen–evoking centuries of linguistic complexity as freshly-pierced ear–it’s made even better by the fact that we actually have to purchase this sarcasm mark to properly pepper our typed correspondence.
What’s even better? When I use it, everyone will know exactly what I’m talking about.