Paul Krugman regularly uses sarcasm in his blog posts that falls a bit flat because he doesn’t use sarcasm punctuation. He is a good enough writer that he doesn’t use sarcasm (or dramatically modifies his wording) in his columns, but in his blog posts are full of it. For example, he sometimes writes blog posts as extensions of his NYT columns and his posts are full of awkward sarcasm, but the accompanying columns are not. For example, even when a sarcastic blog post links to a related column, the column has no sarcasm, even though both are using exactly the same metaphor and discussing the same topic. Here is how his sarcastic blog post reads without sarcasm punctuation:
…the ideal policy is to shut half the economy down for a while, then start it up again — that way you get 100 percent growth. Also, hitting yourself in the head with a baseball bat is a great idea, because it feels good when you stop.
This is the opposite of Krugman’s true beliefs and he wisely avoids using this kind of sarcastic language in his column, but on his blog, he writes less formally. It would be clearer with sarcasm punctuation:
…¡¿the ideal policy is to shut half the economy down for a while, then start it up again — that way you get 100 percent growth. ¡¿Also, hitting yourself in the head with a baseball bat is a great idea, because it feels good when you stop¡
If the NYT allowed sarcasm punctuation, Krugman could write better columns. He regularly uses awkward sarcasm in his blog because he is regularly writing about absurd and/or dismal situations. I’ll update this post with more examples in the future. Paul, the easiest way to start using sarcasm punctuation is to simply copy and paste select the characters–¡¿–into your own writing.