You know finger quotes, those bunny ear motions you you make with your index and middle fingers to denote that what you are saying is “in quotes”.
Last night I watched Matt Lauer’s Dateline interview with Brittney Spears. Oh don’t judge…you’re so glib. There was nothing else on TV and I was curious. I lost count of the number of times Brit invoked the finger quotes, for emphasis, rather than, you know, actually quoting. Kind of when people say “literally” when they mean “really” or “very much so” because what they are saying is so not literal (“smoke literally came out of his years”, etc.) or the much used “ironically”, which is usually attached to something not at all ironic and probably only mildly interesting (like rain on your wedding day). The worst part is she got Matt Lauer doing it too. Misused affectations are funny to me (but really, et tu Lauer?).
I’ve been a frequent user of the bunny ears in the past and having cut down on their use, have decided to go cold turkey after last night’s interview (though I insist that I have only used them responsibly when placing a phrase in quotes, I swear). I’ve also decided to give up chewing gum during interviews, like literally.