In an email message titled “An invitation to hear the Story, the Strategy, and the Situation!!!” Wichita school bond issue celebrity spokesperson George Fahnestock invites a select group of Wichitans to learn about the proposed bond issue.
(Isn’t it annoying when the senders of email messages seek to raise the importance and urgency of their message by using several exclamation marks, or astonishers, as I like to call them?)
Here’s part of the text of the message:
I am inviting you, as a friend, a colleague, a partner in the betterment of our community, on behalf of more than 1500 citizens who assembled in 2007 to evaluate the critical needs and share their vision, to join us at one of two “Information Sessions” designed to present the history, the facts, and the economic and future impact of the story. Once you have heard the story, then you can decide how you may want to vote, or how you may want to get involved, or how you may want to react to the findings.
What’s peculiar, and possibly telling, is his use of quotation marks around the words Information Sessions. What do these quotation marks mean?
The Online writing lab at Purdue University gives this guidance about the use of these punctuation devices: “Use quotation marks to indicate words used ironically, with reservations, or in some unusual way.”
Your choice: ironically, with reservation, or unusual — any of these might be appropriate for describing what will be presented at these sessions.
Note: These two sessions are held at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, an institution that perpetually has its hand out, asking government for taxpayer funds. Refreshments are provided by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission, which has in the past received funds from local governments, and probably still does. Bob Hanson, its president, feels that government doesn’t do enough to fund his pet programs and the vision of what he thinks is best for Wichita.