Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Organic" Squash

What's weirder, these gross warthog winter squash or the scare quotes around "organic" in this sign from a booth at the S.F. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market? Those Ferry Plaza folks are hard to read. Can produce be ironically organic? Are we witnessing the birth of hipster produce? Or is this a commentary meant to shake up our consumer consciousness--just because the sign says so doesn't mean it's really organic so you should do your homework and follow up before purchasing. Or perhaps "organic" is making a statement about naturalness of form, and while these squash may have sprung from the loins of Mother Earth without chemical aid, their mutant bubbles make them monstrosities, unnatural beings, and hence destined to be "organic" only in quotes, lonely freaks caught between worlds.

What are scare quotes, you ask? According to the Chicago Manual of Style:

Quotation marks are often used to alert readers that a term is used in a nonstandard, ironic, or other special sense. Nicknamed "scare quotes," they imply, "This is not my term" or "This is not how the term is usually applied." Like any such device, scare quotes lose their force and irritate readers if overused. (7.58)
For lots of fun with intentional misinterpretations of unintentional scare quotes, see The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotes.

4 comments:

Adam Ahmed said...

This is a "great" blog entry. But I don't think hipsters need "produce;" they get all their fiber through Clove Cigarettes.

katrina d. said...

Great "comment." Putting unnecessary "quotes" on everything is starting to get "addictive." Uh-oh, am I losing my force and irritating readers?

eek said...

Thought people should see this vintage craigslist post, forwarded to me by sister during her last housing search. Other than that brief intro, it speaks for itself:

A Two-Bedroom "newly remodeled" hardwood floor house with a "Big" Backyard ideal for "Barbequeing, planting trees, fruits and veggies" will be available on or before June 7, 2008. This house is located in a "very" quiet, safe, friendly, family-oriented neighborhood watch area and is "very" close to ALL AMENITIES such as the Post office, Supermarkets, Restaurants and Entertainment Centers, Gas Stations, Laundromt, Library, 4 minutes to Downton, City Hall, Government offices, Courts, Corporate America offices, etc., etc., etc.

katrina d. said...

That was a tour de force of creative punctuation, but perhaps even more so of capitalization. I think we should rename the blog: "normal" Vegtibles.