In 1968 Remington-Rand introduced a new key on its typewriters. It was a punctuation mark called the Interrobang.
It was first proposed in 1962 by Martin Speckter in an article he wrote for “TYPEtalks Magazine” and was the first new punctuation mark proposed since 1671. As you can see it is a cross between a question mark (?) and an exclamation mark (!). The name comes from printers jargon where a question is called an interro and the exclamation mark is called a bang.
The reason why Remington-Rand introduced it was because they said it filled a gap in our English language. There are times, they said, where neither the question mark nor the exclamation mark is quite the appropriate symbol. The interrobang would come at the end of sentence where we might find a series of question and exclamation marks: !?!?!?. They would be sentences which express both astonishment and curiosity, wonder and uncertainty.
In this punctuation mark we have been given a new way of looking at faith and life because there are times when neither the ! or the ? is the appropriate symbol for what is happening. These are the times in life where we both want to affirm and question what is going on. It comes at a point where what we know and do not know meet, where faith and doubt converge.
It comes, for example, in the face of terrible tragedy where we want to ask how this could happen? Why? What’s the point? But at the same we are not left in the world of questions and uncertainty. We still can affirm our faith in life, the goodness of creation and a loving God.
In summary then, the Interrobang means:
“We must never allow what we do know
to blind us to what is yet to be known.
We must never allow what we do not know
to rob us of confidence in what we do know.”