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Emoticons: A Critical Analysis


Ah...the English language was, in its time, capable of creating such beauty. For centuries it was masterfully used to enchant our minds with sonnets, inspiring speeches, and dick jokes; now, however, it’s fallen by the wayside in lieu of emoticons like “:)” and “;)”. While emoticons have become the primary way in which we now communicate, they aren’t all that easy to decipher. Because they’re truncated forms of communication, a great deal of subtext is packed into each one – subtext the reader may not notice at first glance. Allow me to help you prepare for the death of English by dissecting and critiquing some of the world’s most befuddling emoticons.



emoticons critical analysis a big girl


According to the slightly shady online emoticon dictionary I visited to research this article, :-)-{8 is supposed to stand for “big girl.” Now, big can mean many things, both emotionally and physically – in this regard, however, I assume it either means “large breasted” or “large bodied”. Given the way obesity rates are rising in this country, I’d place place my money on the latter; it’s safe to assume that when future generations sit around the house, they’ll be sitting around the house, if you know what I’m sayin’.



emoticons critical analysis alarmed


Apparently :-o is meant to express the fact that the person typing it is alarmed. This emoticon lies in contrast to :-O, which is supposed to impart that the person typing it feels a sense of amazement. These particular emoticons appear to be reversed – logic would dictate that the larger the mouth, the greater the horror, but apparently logic has no place on the interwebs. This is a valuable lesson to learn – that the world wide web is a vast, bizarre wasteland of confusion. :)



emoticons critical analysis mad


To be ~:( is to be mad – not “mad” as in “insane like a 50’s housewife,” but “mad” as in “totally freakin’ pissed, bro”. If you ask me, the tilde at the beginning of the the emoticon reminds me of stinkiness – looking at it makes me envision a dude who’s pissed ‘cause he reeks like chili dogs. Said stinkiness makes sense – after all, mean people do stink. (You can quote me on that, incidentally.)



emoticons critical analysis silly


OMG, Stacy, you’re so =P! To be =P is to be, like, silly...imagine a sassy young thing stickin’ her tongue out whilst flashing one of those “Whatever” signs with her well-manicured little fingers. Shut off the part of your brain that makes you associate wagging tongues with inbred dogs and you’ll get it.



emoticons critical analysis upset


Folks who feel >.< feel upset – the emoticon people use to represent this emotion, however, looks like the graphic equivalent of someone straining to take a dump. I don’t know how healthy your colon is, but personally I find the two feelings to be interchangeable. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a fiber supplement or eight to take.


( o_o)

emoticons critical analysis annoyed


Annoyed by constant inquiries as to your “a/s/l”? Let the 48-year-old man you’re chatting with on AOL know how displeased you are by throwing a ( o_o) into the conversation. I know what you’re thinking – ( o_o) looks like a dead-eyed anime character – but suspend your disbelief enough to pull off this cool-looking diss. Or face continued sexual harassment from a guy who calls himself “WolfHowl48”.



emoticons critical analysis big hug


Everyone loves hugs! (Well, everyone who isn’t aphenphosmphobic, that is.) Wanna show that special someone you care...from a distance? Throw a >:D< at ‘em! Apparently this is a great way to throw a “big hug” at whatever lucky soul you luv [sic]. While the emoticon in question may look like a happy person about to be consumed by two rocky peaks of terror, isn’t that what love is anyway?



emoticons critical analysis big laugh


OMG, are you ROTFLOLing extremely hard right now? If so, it sounds like you’re xDing; xD, after all, stands for “big laugh.” Ignore the fact that “x” is a common representation of the eyes death and keep on ROTFLOLing!



emoticons critical analysis john lennon


//0-0\\ = John Lennon. OK, that's a pretty good likeness. I have no additional insight to add.


What contributes to the rapidly approaching death of the English language more – emoticons or acronyms like “LOL”? Let me know in the comments!


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