That was sarcasm

Rabab Al-Sharif

You probably haven’t heard of it yet, but the SarcMark might just be the next big thing.

The symbol, a spiral with a dot inside of it, was created by Sarcasm Inc. to be used at the end of a sentence signifying that the writer is being sarcastic. Hopefully it will avoid any potentially awkward misunderstandings.

The SarcMark can be installed onto any PC running Windows 7, XP or Vista, Macs and BlackBerrys. Once downloaded, the symbol can then be used in Word documents, instant messages, Outlook e-mail and other programs.

With two easy keystrokes — control and the full-stop key — all of your sarcasm troubles will be over.

Apparently this isn’t just about selling a punctuation mark. It’s about equal rights for sarcasm according to the company that created the symbol.

“With the spoken word, we use our tone, inflection and volume to question, exclaim and convey our feelings. The written word has question marks and exclamation points to document those thoughts, BUT sarcasm has NOTHING! In today’s world with increasing commentary, debate and rhetoric, what better time could there be than NOW, to ensure that no sarcastic message, comment or opinion is left behind. Equal Rights for Sarcasm.”

The symbol can be downloaded for lifetime use at for only one easy payment of $1.99. Aside from the fact that the dudes who invented the exclamation mark, question mark and period are probably kicking themselves in their graves right now for not thinking of charging people to use their punctuation marks, I foresee some potential problems.

First of all, is it really a good idea introducing a new form of punctuation to a society that already has enough trouble properly using the ones that already exist? Maybe we should all try to figure out how to use a semicolon before we try adding anything new into the mix.

The second problem is that this isn’t a universally recognized symbol as of yet. Assuming that a majority of the population has no idea what this symbol is or means, adding it to the end of a statement is likely to cause more confusion than it will prevent. In addition to not recognizing your sarcasm, people will be wondering what the heck that little spirally thing is at the end of your sentence.

Finally, I have a feeling that if this does catch on, it will lead to the abuse of sarcasm. Like most things, sarcasm seems to lose its effect when overused. I can already imagine the explosion as everyone rushes to get his or her two dollars worth. The last thing we need is to be bombarded with ill-thought-out sarcastic remarks, purely so that people can test out a cool new symbol.

Chances are if you need punctuation to indicate that you are being sarcastic then you should probably stop trying to be sarcastic. If the problem is that others are too simple to pick up on your clever remarks then I highly doubt that throwing in an obscure symbol is going to be any help.

Who needs free symbols like emoticons or the good old-fashioned “sarcasm” when you can pay two bucks for the rights to a spiral and a dot.

This is exactly what America needs, something else to obsess over.

Rabab Al-Sharif is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].