Could anyone tell me why "action" in this passage is marked with quotation marks?
The origin of the term can be traced to Albert Goldman and a 1964 article he had written in The New Republic titled "Lindy's Law". The term Lindy refers to Lindy's delicatessen in New York, where comedians "foregather every night at Lindy's, where ... they conduct post-mortems on recent show business 'action'". In this article, Goldman describes a folkloric belief among New York City media observers that the amount of material comedians have is constant, and therefore, the frequency of output predicts how long their series will last:
Original article: https://www.gwern.net/docs/statistics/1964-goldman.pdf