Number Six

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I'm on vacation, and while I'm gone, with computers and Net connections in short supply, I'm counting down the Ten Greatest Crimes Against Humanity Committed By The Internet. The series begins here.

Time to wrap up the bottom five. The best of the worst of the worst, as it were. And honestly, I cannot believe this isn't a historical piece, like some of what we've covered so far. If there's anything I thought we'd have been able to move beyond, as a culture, as a nation, as a fucking SPECIES, it's emoticons.

Smilies. Facial expressions constructed out of the basic ASCII character set. It should have been a brief artifact of the early Internet, when limited bandwidth and the novelty of the medium caused the language used to convey emotion expand, briefly, in a completely retarded direction before fading into oblivion and given five minutes on VH1's "I Love The Internet", an amount roughly comparable to what "BABY ON BOARD" signs earned.

But no. They've survived. Some of you will look at that survival from a Darwinian standpoint, and say their continued existence actually proves their usefulness. To you, I offer as a counter-argument the possibility that you might go fuck yourself.

But, you may ask, how can people possibly convey complex emotions like "simultaneously furrowing your brow, winking, and sticking your tongue out" without emoticons? Won't communication become confusing without these vital insights into authorial intent?" Maybe. That's not my problem, though.

I mean, look at this column. Four years, nothing but text, and did I once have to construct a sideways frowning face out of 12-point Verdana to convince you people I was less than completely thrilled with a particular set of circumstances? I didn't. You know why I didn't? Because I have words and know how to use them. You know how you can tell I'm joking? Because when you read it, you fucking well laugh.

And if you don't laugh, and think I'm serious, that's... actually, in my specific case, it's still your fault. But in the GENERAL case, it's the writer's fault for not conveying themselves clearly, not the writer's fault for trying to capture their facial expression after each sentence.

Also, how many fucking facial expressions do you people HAVE when you're writing? Even if emoticons were necessary, which they're not, you shouldn't need more than four. Smiling, smiling a lot, frowning, frowning a lot. If you're doing anything else while you type things on the Internet, you need to log off and take a Valium. Fuck winking. When was the last time you saw anyone wink in real life? NEVER, that's when. If you believe emoticons, we're an entire nation of Popeyes with Parkinson's.

End this crime. Try choosing your words for once and kick your smilies to the curb where they belong.