Ross Rader is right. Our current tools for producing content are inadequate for creating proper quotes, apostrophes, and other punctuation. This stuff should not require my attention to be correctly.
I have already confessed I’m using stupid (non-curly) quotes on MediaSavvy. I looked at SmartyPants and thought it was cool, until I contemplated installing a Moveable Type plug-in and modifying all my templates. Besides, I don’t believe the tags are the place this stuff should be fixed. I want my tools (this month it’s BBEdit, NetNewswire, and Moveable Type) to deal with this stuff natively. We’re not there yet.
I also agree that, in the larger scheme of things, this aesthetic consideration is a pretty small gripe. What’s amazing is how good (and cheap) these tools are.