Jan 29, 2009

I do not know what these things mean

This (unretouched photo), I can take a pretty good guess at:

I assume it's got something to do with helping "the red man get ahead, man", or whatever Obama plans to do about racism in crosswalks, I didn't pay very close attention to his inauguration speech. But, you know, hope and change and all that.

This (unretouched photo), however, has me quite flummoxed:

While I do look forward to someday dwelling on the logical and syntactical corn maze that the statement itself presents, I can't quite get past the, um, cavalier attitude towards punctuation here. Punctuation that exists on a billboard, by the way. Who was at that design meeting?
All I can figure is the sign's underwriters (The Concerned Citizens for a Better America, is what the small print in the lower right says) feel that America is simply too awesome for an ellipses with only three dots. The fourth dot stands for Freedom! And this statement is so powerful, it needs to be put in quote! Get it up on that billboard outside the YWCA! People need to be shocked and awed by its bad punctuation, questionable rationale and jingoistic message! No time for a proofreader, they are tools of the corporatist elite!
If we stop shrieking, the terrorists have won!


done.made.said said...

I think the dialog at that design meeting went something like this:

patriot #1: Welllll, we're not sure if anybody ever really said this. But we wish they did...

patriot #2: Oooh! Ooh! I know!! Let's put just the ending quotation marks on. That way, nobody will be able to say that we said that somebody said it when nobody ever really did!

Patriot #3: Brilliant! Nobody will be able to can catch us if were wrong!

(chorus of boardroom applause) Yeah! Yeah! That's it! Great idea!

flamingbanjo said...

The reason the opening quotes got left off is because you came in right in the middle of what the billboard writer was saying. Maybe if you'd been listening a little more closely instead of driving down the street in such a big, unpatriotic hurry, you'd have caught the opening quotes. The extra ellipsis is to get you to slow down, man. Slow down and smell the patriotism.

Christopher said...

But, it's only half a quote, apparently, since their aren't any quotation marks at the beginning of the statement, or anywhere else within it, except that one at the end.

And, not surprisingly, "The Concerned Citizens For A Better America" don't seem to have any sort of organizational structure: no web site, no registration as a PAC; not even a Google search results page.

Which leads me to believe "The Concerned CitizenS" is really A "concerned citizen" who needs to take a remedial English grammar course.

Rachel said...

The atheists take out ads here.

The attention-getting tagline goes like this, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

The part I like most about the ad series is that they're in all caps, presumably to sidestep the question of whether you capitalize God or not.

Flamingbanjo, slow down and smell the Godlessness.

More info here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/21/religion-advertising