Dumb quotes

This is an apostrophe:

It is used to represent letters (and occasionally digits) that have been omitted from contractions such as don’t and Li’l Abner and rock ’n’ roll and the ’80s.

This is a pair of single quotation marks:
‘ ’
They are used to indictate speech-within-speech, as in “I'm a reasonable man,” said David Brooks, “but when someone calls me ‘that fucking moron’ I get a bit upset.”

No one found this confusing until Microsoft Word introduced the “smart quotes” feature. When used with double quotation marks, smart quotes is a useful tool: you type the double-quote character and the software determines whether you want an open-quote mark or a close-quote mark, depending on whether the character comes at the beginning of a word or at the end.

The mistake was to implement smart quotes for single quotation marks as well. Say I want to write cookies and cream, but I want to write it in a cooler, jazzier way, by replacing the first and last letters of the word and with apostrophes. I type

C O O K I E S <space> <apostrophe> N <apostrophe> <space> C R E A M.
Microsoft Word sees the first apostrophe, observes that it comes after a space and before a letter, and decides that it's an opening single quotation mark. The program displays
cookies ‘n’ cream
as though I wanted to cast doubt on the letter n. Calling such a feature “smart” is a bit of a misnomer, I think.

The problem is compounded by the human tendency to trust computers too much. People see the quotation marks in cookies ‘n’ cream and think, Well, the computer put them that way, that must be right.

Taken to an extreme, people will even allow Microsoft Word's stupidity to fuck up the logo for a major Hollywood motion picture.