“…So and so likes to [insert sarcastic italicized word/phrase here] (read: [insert true meaning of statement here])…”
A good example is on the otherwise excellent Daring Fireball:
“…but that Apple “seek” (read: “pay for”) a license…”
I know I’ve probably been guilty of it myself at least once, but I’m starting to see it EVERYWHERE. I’ve already seen it on two completely different sites today (including DF), with different styles, purposes, and audiences. There are a few things that bug me about it.
First, it’s not really funny anymore. I’m sure somebody started using that device for the purpose of emphasizing the lunacy of a discussed topic. Now I see it at least once a day. Why did the chicken cross the road? To peck your eyes out for using a joke that stopped being funny the second time you heard it.
Second, I don’t like the way this device functions. It assumes you didn’t get the sarcasm in the first place. When you examine the contextual use of the “(read:)” element you see that it’s at least redundant and at most presumptuous.
Finally, why on earth is it structured in such a way? Writers often use parentheses to contain explanations or extensions of preceding statements. Why, then, do we need to add “read:” inside the parentheses? It’s as if the author is saying, “Just in case you don’t know what to do with the following words, you should read them. And assume that’s what I really meant.” d00d, teh sux0rz.