Miscellany № 80: irony archaeology

In the wake of my last post (Miscellany № 79: jè?), I was doing a bit of digging into the history of emoticons — those recumbent smileys used to signify happiness (:)), sadness (:(), mehness (:|) and so on — when I came across Scott Fahlman’s personal website. Fahlman is the man famous for inventing the emoticon and, although I’ve written about him before, both here and in the Shady Characters book, in both cases I skated over the exact circumstances of his invention because, well, I didn’t know what they were. Having found his webpage at Carnegie Mellon University, however, I now find that the whole story has been there for the reading for a decade or more!

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Miscellany № 43: sartalics \live\!

It’s a sad fact of life in this business (that is, the business of unusual punctuation marks) that many a promising mark has gone the way of the dodo. The SarcMark©, for instance, was a veritable punctuational mayfly; Paul Mathis’ attempt to rebrand ‘the’ as ‘Ћ’ was over almost as soon as it had begun; and so on, and so forth. The archives of this blog are littered with the corpses of failed innovations.

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