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November 22, 2014

Jared Polis’ Punctuation Push

Rep. Jared Polis has as of late been having some trouble squeezing in everything he wants to share on social media.

But the Colorado Democrat has a plan to streamline overly wordy thoughts: tildes.

The Education and the Workforce Committee member floated his idea about recasting the summarily ignored squiggly sign to his Twitter flock after perusing an ongoing discussion on an etymological message board about how best to offset paraphrased content.

“It is challenging to condense quotes from articles into 140 characters,” Polis said in an email regarding his struggles with concise, but still cogent microblogging. Per his unsatisfactory research, Polis found far-from-definitive advice urging content shrinkers to employ everything from multicolored fonts to plain brackets.

“For instance, take the sentence ‘Most residents of Fallujah do not support the al-Qaeda fighters, the journalist there said, but they also lack the means to oppose them, and they also oppose the Iraqi government.’ from a recent Washington Post article. After referencing a style guide I tried [brackets] ‘[residents oppose al-Qaeda,but also oppose Iraqi government]’ but it doesn’t convey meaning as well as a specialized ~symbol~ would,” Polis wrote.

Polis would rather resuscitate the tilde for abbreviating duties — a symbol he believes is ideally suited to the task.

“Tildes were in vogue for a while in the 1990s, during the internet 1.0 days as part of URLs, as in ‘www.samplesite.com/~jaredpolis but they have fallen out of use again, appear on every keyboard, and happen to have ‘approximate’ as their meaning anyway! A perfect fit!” he asserted.

He fully expects to make his case one meticulously shortened tweet at a time.

“The resolution I am looking for is that the mavens of grammar adopt my suggestion to use ~tildes~ as the official symbol of paraphrasing,” Polis proposed. “And I plan on using them in my twitter feed to contribute to the goal of adoption in some small way.”

Just don’t expect him to be a stickler for the rules into perpetuity.

“The other day someone asked, ‘Plural of armor is armor right? Only time one would use ‘armors’ is as a verb?’ And I sent a light-hearted reply: ‘my amour’s armor is in the armory’s armoire,’” Polis shared, showing his love of wordplay.

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