Warning: I’m a little emojinal today.
Emojis. Emoticons. Pictographs. They’re cute and cuddly like a little bear cub. And like a momma bear defending its cub, you may want to want to lacerate me after I inviscerate these beloved texting cartoons.
Emoji comes from the Japenese word e for “picture” and moji for “letter” or “character”. I always thought emoji was a derivative of the word “emotion”, because back when emojis were just faces showing different expressions, that’s what they conveyed – emotions.
In those days, if you were sending a passive-aggressive text message, you could add a smiley face to make sure the person took it as passive-aggressive and not fully-aggressive.
Great. Grand. Lovely. Wonderful.
When I sent my first SMS (Short Message System) message, aka, text message, it was somewhere around the turn of the millennium. I didn’t even know my phone could do that. I was just flipping through the options and I discovered the feature to type a short message (without a keyboard), using something called T9 predictive text. I sent a text to my buddy who was in the next room:
It was in reference to his favourite hockey team. This caused a series of messages insulting each other’s hockey team (among other things). We were very mature in those days. I still remember the reaction of his female roommate:
“You guys are nerds.”
That part was true. We were nerds. We got the same reaction from all the females in our social group at the time. They thought SMS messages were lame.
Fast forward to the present. The women were right. Text messaging is lame.
It’s usually lame, I should say. The first ‘S’ in SMS stands for Short. As in, Short and Sweet. If you keep your message short and to the point, that’s actually somewhat useful. Some of my friends don’t understand this and would like to have a conversation the length of this blog post via text message. Not cool. The less time I stand in the dunce corner, staring down at my screen, the better. So if I text, which is hardly ever, I keep it short.
“Now just a minute there, Sheep. Earlier you alluded to a dislike for emojis, but in fact, they can help you achieve your goal of writing shorter texts.”
While that may be true, I am a big fan of not bastardizing our language. So I usually type things out in full. My version of LOL is “Ha, ha”. It’s even more accurate, for when one types LOL, one is not usually laughing out loud. One is more likely having a light chuckle.
“Holy fuck. Please lighten up.”
Maybe I should. But have our emojis not gotten carried away? We have an emoji for poop for godsakes. My boss at my first job once witnessed me ignoring customers in order to get my work done. He reminded me that I should talk to the customers and that doing so is easy. Why? Because the English language has so many words to say the same thing.
Poop can be shit, caca, feces, turds, dung, excrement, dirt… I am sure we can all think of many more. Now we don’t need to. We have a picture to do it for us. A steaming pile of poo.
Speaking of poo, I was reading the “news” today. I like to keep abreast of new technology, so this morning I was checking the technology pages when I came across the article that started this whole rant in the first place:
I think some people may want to stop emoji-ing for a second and check that dictionary-thingy for the word inclusive. Here, I’ll do it for you:
inclusive: including or covering all the services, facilities, or items normally expected or required.
Being the proud owner of a cellphone, there are certain services I would expect or require. Having access to a pictogram that exactly matches my “genderless” face is not what I would consider a required or expected service.
According to the article, “Designers spent a considerable amount of time determining how to create genderless emojis”.
Wow, I’m glad they had their crack design team on such an important project.
Are there not any breakthroughs in Quantum Physics we should know about today? Why is this the top article on the technology news page? Is it because the news is brought to me by Google and they want everyone to know what an all-inclusive company they are, or is it because they weren’t mining enough data from the gender fluid, non-binary community? I don’t know.
“The gender fluid emoji has hair that is long in the back and parts in the front”.
Um… That does not sound like a genderless hairdo. Is this not just a hairstyle known as a mullet? I’ve seen both male and female people with this identical hairdo, so what did the genderless emoji design team do exactly?
They created fifty-three more emojis to clutter up my phone. And thank God for that because I was losing sleep at night trying to decide which “mer” character to text to my genderless friends. I mean, I could never decide between the short-haired, shirtless merman, or the sexy, long-haired mermaid with her seashell cup brazier. Fortunately, now I have a third option, with arms-crossed over the chest, and a hairdo like the main character in the LEGO movie.
In related news, I solved the mystery of why my cellphone needs a two hundred Megabyte update every night.
But with great inclusivity comes great responsibility. If you have the new emojis and you send them to a phone without them, they will be converted into a male or female icon that is supported on that phone. So, be careful.
Don’t worry. According to the article, Apple may follow suit and create such emojis in the future. They better, if they want to stay hip with the Millenials.
I have a better idea. Let’s get rid of all emojis so that no one feels left out and we can resume conveying our thoughts through those dictionary word thingies again.