Thursday, September 20, 2007

A dark day for punctuation

Huge news, here, people. No, not International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Not the Fed’s decision to lower interest rates, sparking a crazed mixture of celebration and sadness among meth-addled day traders.

It’s much bigger and more sinister than that.

This week, you see, marks the 25th anniversary of the invention of the emoticon.

You might say, “But Gerry—they’re cute, tiny Internet smiley faces. What’s sinister about that? Have you been getting enough sleep?”

I might reply, “You’re insane. Smilies lead to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the Dark Side.”

Scott E. Fahlman and his unstoppable civilization destroyer.

Just as I refuse to type “LOL” except in very rare and precious circumstances, I refuse to create a happy face out of otherwise innocent punctuation. It’s just not right. I guess, rationally, you could argue that such expressions take the place of actual verbal communication, which undermines our ability to really relate to one another. But mainly they just grate at my soul. I can’t tell you exactly why.

I also refuse to type “u” for “you” and “2” for “too/to.” But that’s just because Prince doesn’t appreciate imitators. A reasonable stance, I think.

Anyway, put on a black armband and type out a dirge for the written word. There’s only one expression for our continued slide into emoticon oblivion: Frowny.


MM said...

I agree that we've become language-lazy, replacing words with a series of initials. Did this trend start with Toys R Us, which not only used a letter in place of a word but turned the letter around so that it's backward?

M. Gants v4.0 said...


cadiz12 said...

this is almost as disturbing as that story i saw a few years ago about some college professors who have begun allowing instant-messaging shorthand in essay answers.

imho, that's lame.

Erin said...

I prefer lqtm (that's "laugh quietly to myself" to you mister).

pete said...

i fully agree, master gerry, especially on the subject of these "abbreviations". i don't understand them much of the time. perhaps i'm just not hip enough. wait, can one even be "hip" any more?