“We mean exactly what we say the words say, not something else like ‘microwave,'” said spokesperson Miriam Webster regarding quote marks, while giving Trump the “air finger.”
NYC – Exact Quotations spokesperson Miriam Webster quoth today that her members were in an “existential uproar” following Donald Trump’s “abusive” suggestion that his misuse of quotes around “wire tapping” meant something else than “wire tapping,” such as “microwave ovens.”
“In English writing,” Ms Webster said definitively, “quotation marks or inverted commas, also known informally as quotes, speech marks, quote marks, quotemarks or speechmarks, are punctuation marks placed on either side of a word or phrase in order to identify it as a quotation, direct speech or a literal title or name.
“In other words,” she fumed, “quotation marks mean exactly what we bloody say they say, and nothing more. We quotes are the guardians of verisimilitude. What we surround are the exact words used, not their opposite or something else. We are the public bodyguards of precise meanings, the Secret Service of Semantics.”
Ms Webster cited the well-known example of Edgar Allen Poe’s raven, who repeatedly quothed, “Never more.”
“In the Raven’s case ‘Never more’ meant ‘never more,’” said Ms Webster. “It did not mean ‘she’ll be back tomorrow or maybe by the weekend.’ That’s why Poe said ‘Quoth the Raven,’ and put its words inside quotation marks. He meant, ‘Eleanor ain’t coming back,’ and in fact she never did.”
Ms Webster added that “so-called air quotes, indicated by gesturing double fingers, literally do not exist.
“They are air today and gone tomorrow. Like Macbeth’s witches, if I may quote, they ‘dissolve and vanish into thin air.’ They literally cannot be written down. That’s the whole point.
“An air quote is not a there quote. To quote Gertrude Stein, ‘There is no there there.’ There’s only air there.”
Ms Webster emphatically denounced the “false assertion” by the White House’s Chief Prevaricator, Sean Sphincter, that placing quote marks around “wire tapping” implied that President Trump intended some other meaning, such as “microwave oven” or “Samsung television set.”
“A quote is a quote is a quote,” she said. “And please note that that is not a quote. It just plays off another Gertrude Steinism.”
“Listen, Trump” she apostrophised, “when you put a word or phrase inside a set of quotation marks, double or single, you’re saying that you mean exactly that, ‘and neither more nor less,’ to quote Alice’s Humpty Dumpty.
“You can claim that air quotes unsay what they appear to say, but you can’t transfer their meaning post hoc to what’s set down inside a published tweet, you lying POS.
“And you can quote me on that.”