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If I “Quote” It, I Don’t Have to “Believe” It

03.03.09

This has been really annoying the hell out of me lately.  It’s nothing new but it has been getting way more acceptable in everyday conversation and writing that people aren’t even questioning it anymore.

Just because you put quotes around a word doesn’t invalidate its meaning simply because you don’t want to acknowledge it.

Gay is a word.  It doesn’t require quotes.  If you refer to gay marriage: no quotes.  Or gay couples.  No quotes.  On the same token, marriage shouldn’t be quoted either.

People love throwing quotes around incorrectly.  And it’s not just in print anymore.  It’s during conversation, too.   This happened to me the other day while having a conversation with someone about psychiatry and when he came to that one word he regretfully had to say, he rolled his eyes and threw up his hands and gave me those air quotes when he said it.

“Psychiatry.”

Sorry, but psychiatry is a real scientific field of study.  Same with psychology (he used quotes around that one, too).  I have no problem if someone doesn’t personally agree with going to a psychiatrist (and lucky for them to not have any serious health issues that would require visiting such a doctor), but just because you have a differing opinion on science doesn’t automatically refute its legitimacy.

People seem to be using quotes to further sink themselves into a world of their own creation.  One that completely conforms to their own paranoia, prejudices, and personal views.  One that casts out any dissenting information, or at the very least, marginalizes the facts as being the fringe ideas.

Enough, already.

Lose the incorrect quotes.  Look up the AP style book on Google.  Read up on the use of quotation marks.  I hate to break the news, but these things you don’t believe in still exist with or without quotes.

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3 comments

  1. It’s simply a way for them to quickly express they don’t believe, or ascribe to the words/labels being used in the conversation. We used to just insert “so-called” we’ve shifted because that sounds aggressive and Americans love passive-aggressiveness and sarcasm.

    The grammar stuff in print I understand, it’s almost a way of getting around impartiality in news reporting. But that’s a thing of the past, reporters are now EXPECTED to express their stance. It’s a result of the cable news format of two sides to every issue (which you and I have discussed).

    Long gone are the days of, “Just the facts, ma’am.”

    (Correct quote usage, yes?)


  2. I don’t think it’s necessary at all, even in print. Sure, if you’re trying to make an ironic point it can be used very sparingly, but the cases I’m talking about aren’t like that. Throwing quotes around the word “gay” doesn’t imply impartiality, it signifies bigotry.

    You can still have an angle on a story without being completely biased. Putting inappropriate quotes around hot topic buzz words only intensifies the blatant judgment of the story.

    But yes, you did use the quotes correctly. We’re one of the few.


  3. […] can’t reiterate how much I hate the sarcastic use of quotes in political discourse.  If the convoy wasn’t providing relief, then prove that it was a […]



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