How 'bout those O's
Yesterday was Opening Day in baseball, an occasion whose grim approach I sense as soon as the spring pollen begins to assault my mucosae.* Another kind of allergic reaction was registered yesterday when designer Charles Apple posted a commentary on the Orioles’ logo.
In brief, the logo displays, instead of an apostrophe, an open single quotation mark: O's. (That's a mark that's shaped like a 6 rather than a 9, something the typeface in this blog software prefers will not show you.) And it's trademarked.
This solecism was first identified, Mr. Apple tells us by Paul Lukas of ESPN, who denounced it a couple of months back, to no effect. (Mr. Apple also invited me to comment some time back, but what with the runny nose and teary eyes, I left his note in the queue of e-mail that I mean to answer someday, really.)
Here’s a suggestion to help you stay sane. It’s just a logo. Logos are made by graphic artists, who tend to be more concerned with visual impact than the niceties of all that word stuff. If you can tolerate that idiotic backward R in the Toys “R” Us** sign, then an incorrect version of the apostrophe shouldn’t keep you up nights.
***HERESY ALERT*** ***HERESY ALERT*** ***HERESY ALERT***
it’s just a baseball team. It’s just baseball. Who cares about the apostrophes on the players’ caps?
The humble apostrophe is one of our most-misused punctuation marks, cropping up in false plurals — the Smith’s — sometimes combined with those odd grocers’ quotation marks — “CUKE’S” — and forever being automatically supplanted by the open single quote in Microsoft Word. It’s a troubled punctuation mark.
I’ve got my hands full trying to clean up the prose — we published a reference this morning to mantle clocks, for Fowler’s sake. I don’t have the time, the inclination or the writ to attempt to clean up logos, even assuming that I could get someone to listen to me.
Mr. Apple and Mr. Lukas, good luck in your crusade. But my advice: Get a grip.
* Filthy tree sex.
** Now that my children are grown, I can avoid Toys “R” Us as assiduously as medieval pilgrims shunned a plague city.