Silly String ban in Los Angeles


Love the “greengrocers’ apostrophes”.


yeah … does that mean it’s ot really illegal, and there isn’t really a $1,000 fine?


Don’t worry, I got you covered:

Good thing I only bought Serious String this year; the law is legit even if the sign isn’t. Though it only applies to Hollywood.

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Tried to google why and found:

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Could some lawyer comment on the legality of this, please?

Crap…I thought it was a ban on that silly, ass-backwards theory


I’m not entirely certain whether kmoser is making a simple and honest mistake, or is being purposefully humorous and facetious. Oh well, I’ll clarify anyway for those who might be confused.

The phrase “greengrocer’s apostrophes” refers to when an apostrophe ( ’ ) is used incorrectly on a plural formation. For example, a greengrocer might have a sign which erroneously reads “Fresh pear’s 50% off!”.

The appropriate term to apply to the construction present on this Silly String sign is “scare quotes”, which refers to when quotation marks ( " ) are placed around a word or phrase to signify that the wording being used may not be exactly accurate or apt, akin to if one appended the term “so-called” to the phrase in question.

Again, merely explaining for clarity. If I ruined any perfectly good joke’s, I would like to “apologize”. :wink:


Can “we” get a “$1000 fine” for “random” use of “quotation marks”? Does “illegal” mean it’s really okay?


No. this is all because the silly lobby managed to gut the anti-silly law by making it apply for only 24 hours in one area and only apply to string. This is what Big-Silly can accomplish when they bring all their foam bananas to bear.


Classic Dave Barry:

Dear Mister Language Person: What is the purpose of the apostrophe?

A. The apostrophe is used mainly in hand-lettered small-business signs to alert the reader that an “S” is coming up at the end of a word, as in: WE DO NOT EXCEPT PERSONAL CHECK’S, or: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ITEM’S. Another important grammar concept to bear in mind when creating hand-lettered small-business signs is that you should put quotation marks around random words for decoration, as in “TRY” OUR HOT DOG’S, or even TRY “OUR” HOT DOG’S


Good thing Silly String is a trademark.

Edit I just read the statute, and it looks like it covers generics as well.

This sign is in the UAE? Might as well be a “NO DANCING” sign. That sign needs to have silly string all over it.

I think there should be an amendment to your constitution to the effect that any sign which makes illiterate use of punctuation (or spelling) shall not have any legal authority. Expecting you to take a sign like that seriously, on pain of criminal prosecution, is an affront to humanity.

It’s not just the “emphatic” sarcasm-quotes. It’s the fact that even when using a font presumably having opening and closing versions of them, the creator of this sign is not bothering to pair them correctly. Did MS Word get a new feature, “Dumb quotes”?

I don’t even mind the content. If the sign said “Persons using silly string in the street on the 31st October or 1st November shall be summarily tased and beaten.” I would have less problem with it.


I believe the ban only applies, sensibly, to the “weaponized” version:

I’m surprised everyone doesn’t recognize MSML (Municipal Sign Markup Language). Quotation marks mean “bold” or “this is really serious, honestly, we mean it”. It shouldn’t be confused with RBBCML (Random Boing Boing Commenter Markup Language) because that’s more closely related to Calvinball.


Everyone knows that silly string is a gateway drug to rubber noses.


What the sign doesn’t mention (but the wikipedia article does) is that punishment for possession can also include up to six months in jail! Wow. I used to think the king of disproportionate penalties for trivial things was Singapore for gum, but we have a new champion.