Period, question mark, exclamation point — the written word has done just fine with these three sentence-ending punctuations, but Sarcasm, Inc. reckons there’s room for one more.
The SarcMark aims to make sarcasm easier to express online, essentially by beating the reader over the head with it. Add the squiggly and dot to the end of a sentence, and you’ll know your words won’t be interpreted as genuine. Make no mistake, the SarcMark is a real product, selling for $2 if you want to type it on your Mac, Windows or Blackberry keyboard by holding Ctrl and pressing “.”
If you can’t tell from the tone of my words alone, I’m not convinced the world needs a SarcMark. For that matter I’m not certain the very concept isn’t a work of sarcasm.
The problem with SarcMark is partly technical. Unless the idea catches on in the mainstream, you’ll have to explain its meaning to everyone who sees it. So you’re explaining a punctuation that’s explaining sarcasm. That’s not redundant or anything.
But the bigger issue is that sarcasm doesn’t deserve the easy pass, even if the problem it’s trying to solve is genuine. There are plenty of emotions that are tough to convey in words alone, such as dejection, skepticism, urgency and calm. Why should sarcasm, above all, get its own punctuation?
Let’s just give sarcasm an emoticon and call it a day.