I find it interesting that using real quotation marks in writing does not adequately convey what air quotes mean when speaking.
It’s cool that while air quotes were developed to convey quotation marks when speaking, they have taken on an added dimension, adding an element of sarcasm.
Air quotes generally mean “so called” and add a figurative wink to what you are saying. This added meaning has made it so that the representation cannot go back in the other direction. If you are transcribing a verbal, in-person conversation in which someone used air quotes in this way, just using quotation marks will miss a lot of that meaning.
Perhaps a new punctuation mark called a “sarcastiquote” needs to be developed to represent the air quote. But then in 15 years, some bizarre hand-flap will be used to represent the sarcastiquote in body language and we’ll be back at the beginning of the loop.