A Mark For Sarcasm? Yeah. Right. : Blog Of The Nation No need to drop smiley faces and "j/k"s in e-mails to indicate a jocular manner. Behold - the SarcMark.
NPR logo A Mark For Sarcasm? Yeah. Right.

A Mark For Sarcasm? Yeah. Right.

Questions end with question marks. And exclamations end with exclamation points. But what about sarcastic remarks? Sure, I drop in a :-) here or a "j/k" there from time to time. But as a co-worker on another show and I discussed many moons ago, "Why isn't there an easier way to make sarcasm obvious to other people through the written word?"

Cue the "SarcMark." Paul Sak — co-founder of the new punctuation — along with the Michigan-based company Sarcasm, Inc. launched the new punctuation last week. And what does a "SarcMark" look like? Picture a simplified, upside-down "@" symbol with a dot in the middle. And with the tap of the "CTRL" and "." keys on a computer or smart phone keyboard — voila — you can "tell them how you really feel!" Yup. That's all there is to it. Seriously.

In a time where snark is the cat's meow, the new punctuation mark has garnered bouts of praise and scorn alike. The proclaimed "father of the smiley face", Scott E. Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University, tells ABC News that his creation should suffice in the 21st Century:

"In electronic communication, it's very useful to say 'I'm only kidding,'" he said. If you write satirical prose, in the style of Jonathan Swift or Mark Twain, he said, "Half the fun is not knowing if they're serious or not."

Don't get me wrong - I care about punctuation. A lot. Especially during college. (Kind of hard to tell there, eh?) . But it could take some convincing to get the symbol denoting irony's first cousin to be used in everyday text convos. The "SarcMark" comes with a price — $1.99 — in order to tell your friends your true feelings of how good they look in pleather.