Shady characters seem to be popping up in the mainstream media more and more regularly these days. Having discussed its signature use of the diaeresis only a few weeks ago, this month the New Yorker turns its attention to the ‘þ’, or ‘thorn’, a medieval consonant used to represent a ‘th’ sound. In a post on the magazine’s book blog, Mary Norris explains how she shepherded a stray thorn through the composition and proofreading processes — and apparently met with very little resistance in doing so. This heartens me as to the prospects for the Shady Characters book; the ‘þ’ is positively prosaic compared to some of the Unicode mining I’ve been engaged in of late.
Next up, The Atlantic’s sister site The Atlantic Wire has a bee in its bonnet over a (perceived) decline in the standards of punctuation in emails. Making the case that in order to fix a problem, you must first recognise it, Rebecca Greenfield enumerates punctuational sins such as overused exclamation marks and the wanton deployment of ellipses. I am apt to agree with the enigmatically-named brian, whose to-the-point response takes pride of place at the top of the comments on Ms Greenfield’s second article:
SLOW NEWS DAY BREAKS OUT!!!!!!!
Lastly, a bit of fun: London design firm to the point recently made an engaging little typography game available. It may be based on a terrible pun, but I Shot the Serif is nevertheless a diverting way to spend five minutes ridding the world of fuddy-duddy seriffed typefaces in favour of sleek sans-serifs.