September 5, 2013
(Marissa Mayer / Yahoo)
(Marissa Mayer / Yahoo)

Yes, Yahoo! has a new logo!

I didn’t mean at least one of those “!”s! I resent Yahoo!, as I resent Fun., for taking away my choice in punctuation.

In general, I view the exclamation mark as a way of indicating to the person you are e-mailing that you are not scowling in deep, permanent anger as you type. I believe fervently that unless an e-mail is liberally peppered with “!’s,” it is a sign that the recipient is severely disappointed in you or nursing some secret sorrow. The only trouble is that if you use too many you start to sound as though you are hyperventilating! Or, worse, sarcastic!

True, F. Scott Fitzgerald said the ! was like laughing at your own joke. If so, he would probably hate Yahoo!, as he would hate any person or organization not actively offering him liquor at that very moment.

The new logo looks fine! I guess! Speaking of F. Scott, the “!” on the Yahoo! Web site even performs a tipsy dance before settling next to the final, slightly larger O.

As chief marketing officer Kathy Savett wrote on Tumblr, “We wanted a logo that stayed true to our roots (whimsical, purple, with an exclamation point) yet embraced the evolution of our products.” It is that!

I think this is “exciting news!” but really I can’t tell if I’m actually excited or not, because Yahoo! is wreaking havoc on my excitement sensors.

The Yahoo! exclamation mark is the Promoted Tweet of !’s, the Disney Greeter, the perma-smiling Vanna White Look-At-This-New-Dinette-Set of !’s. It is contractually obligated to be excited about this, so its excitement has no meaning. It doesn’t count as a smile if your face always looks like that. If you sign every letter with “Most Sincerely” or “Best,” then, invariably, you are lying. You have to ration them or they lose their meaning. !’s are most enjoyable if given freely, like love, visits or compliments, and unlike massages from strangers. You like to believe that those only go where they want to go, like celebrity endorsements of beauty products. But there that lone ! is, standing beside a company whose main job, as far as I can tell, is to hide the fact that Google or Google products exist from people who came to the Internet later in life.

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer wrote on her Tumblr about the logo change: “We hadn’t updated our logo in 18 years. Our brand, as represented by the logo, has been valued at as much as ~$10 billion dollars. So, while it was time for a change, it’s not something we could do lightly.” No !’s, notice.

(For more on the logo, see The Switch.)

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.