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Emoticons

In the beginning, there were text smileys. And it was good. People who could spell transmitted thoughts around the globe, finding uses for neglected keys to generally acting like smart people. But with the advance of technology the ability to "use a computer" or "think with mouth closed" are no longer required to get online and banner ads are ever ready to harvest the new subliterate hordes. By simply installing a suspicious, unregistered third party program the ascii grins and yellow circles we know and love can be replaced with gargantuan textured and shaded atrocities. Like carving layers of meat off a horse to make it more aerodynamic - painful, wasteful and the results are nightmarishly bad.

Smiley apologists explain how graphic images can compress complex sentiments quickly, and they're right. If you can represent your thoughts with horrible bug-eyed spheres painted by a failed computer science student then I instantly understand that I hate you and anything you might possibly say. It saves a lot of time. Some even declare 'now with sound', which is like rabies declaring "Now with weeping, pus-filled sores!". Even if you've escaped your handlers, forgotten to take your medication, and now want to use these leprous scabs on communication then anyone you talk to has to have installed the same smiley extension. That's like joining a club for people who shoved screwdrivers into their ears, but only being allowed to talk to those who used the exact same type of screwdriver. Not that they'll be able to hear you.

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