I love Quartz/Atlantic a lot, but with today’s article on “peak punctuation”, it seems they’ve finally gone a bit overboard on their hyperbolic use of various things “peaking”.
A brief history of various things peaking:
It used to be just peak oil. Peak oil was a simple concept. Basically, we would hit a peak where we are producing as much oil as we ever will, and after that, production would fall inexorably. It didn’t happen, due to the shale gas explosion in the US, but nonetheless, a fine hypothesis.
The failure of the peak oil hypothesis to come true did not stop the Atlantic writers (and others) from then going on to predict peaks in everything else. First came peak car. Fair enough, of course we are hoping that we will have passed the hump of ever-increasing cars on our roads and that we will see less and less cars. This might still hold as a hypothesis.
Then came peak attention. Fine, with all the apps and digital devices in our lives, we are definitely suffering an attention shortage. Even if I don’t see how this moment would possibly be the peak of it.
Then things started to go really topsy-turvy as we started having various fruit-related peaks. First, we had peak OJ. Florida’s orange juice supplies were in danger from some little feisty parasite. Then came peak banana. Similar story.
And today, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached peak punctuation. From now on, we are doomed to use only less punctuation. If you’re holding any punctuation marks, today is the time to sell them all.
It seems that as a society, we are continuously trying to find peaks. Perhaps it would be beneficial to also start looking for troughs and plateaus? A nice, slow ascent would also be nice for a change.