May 25, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am
Greil Marcus kills scare quotes dead.
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"We" would like to "inform" you that scare quotes are "frightening," just "say" what you "mean." Greil Marcus, who recently co-edited the exhaustive A New Literary History of America, found scare quotes—"a narrative disease"—scattered throughout the more than two-hundred essays in the collection, and sees them as "a matter of a writer protecting himself or herself." When Marcus asked contributors if he could rid their texts of the protective punctuation marks, "they said, over and over, yes. It was as if we were disarming them of a weapon they had aimed at themselves."
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