At the "Airport"

A moulded plastic sign greets disembarking passengers at Dublin Airport. It says, complete with quotation marks:

“Welcome to Dublin Airport”

Now the humble Greengrocer’s apostrophe I can thole, but this phenomenon, (for which a term has surely been coined, but I can’t be bothered looking it up) sent my brain haywire in search of a meaning.

What is the intended message here? Is it an ironic one-line poem, intended to illustrate the anomie of contemporary airports by way of an unattributed quotation? Who is wishing us welcome? No-one? Everyone?

Whilst these are double quotation marks, they still possess the effect of scare quotes: this is not a real welcome, nor is this Dublin, nor is this an airport. This is the air hangar of your mind.

To those who say that such minor aberrations do not matter, I propose a simple test. The next time you’re checking in luggage and the flight attendant asks you if you packed the luggage yourself, raise your hands and make a 66-99 sign with your fingers as you reply “Yes”. See how far that gets you.

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April 2006
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