Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Further Questions Answered

Greetings. It's John Cludge here, the Assistant Chair of the Department of Emoticon Regulation (DER). I'd just like to take this little opportunity to respond to comments in the previous post.

Karen asks,
I never put noses in emoticons. What's the department's view on that?
I'm glad you asked this question, Karen. All our standard emoticons are filmed in a studio with live actors, and as a consequence, if they didn't have a nose, they might find themselves in some difficulty. Allow me to demonstrate. Here is our live subject. Let's call him 'Clive':


As you can see, he is a normal, happy, healthy person. However, let's take his nose away and see what happens:








'Clive' immediately begins breathing through his mouth. Sometimes, deprived of their primary organ of respiration, the following happens:

_ _
x x

As you can see, 'Clive' is now dead. And he was one of our best actors!

Alexis comments:
I've seen Abe Lincoln


and I've seen Homer Simpson


but what I'd really like to see an emu emoticon (an emuticon?) and/or an Emo emoticon (although I'm not sure how you'd render the safety pin).
Well now, I'm not sure if that's a question or not, but for the record, this is what an Emo emoticon looks like:


As a matter of fact, here at the DER, we have for some time been developing a parlour game that we call 'Emoticon Charades'. In this game, one of our emoticon actors strikes a pose, and we attempt to guess what mood/characteristic that actor is trying to represent.

Let's see some examples:


This is 'Person With Amputated Arm'.


This is 'Person With Two Amputated Arms'.


This is 'The Elephant Man'.


This is 'Fat Man With Double Chin Who Has Just Eaten a Big Mac'.


This is 'Fat Man With Quadruple Chins Trying To Flirt With You'


This is 'Person In the Manic Stage of Manic Depression'. (Also 'Stevie Wonder At a Concert')


This is 'David Niven in His Later, More Depressing Years'.

I will leave it up to readers to guess what this is:


I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had. Thanks to TimT for once again allowing me to post on his blog.


Karen said...

It's a bit like Rosarch ink blots, isn't it? In fact, I suspect that the department is really a front for covert psychological testing. If I did hazard a guess as to what the last emoticon might represent the department would no doubt then be able to formulate a comprehensive history of my personal neuroses. The mythical "Clive" and his fate is an attempt to weaken my defences, but I know an evil scientist when I see one.

TimT said...

He's so histrionic, the little emoticon guy. There's no in between feelings with him. His mouth either has to be pinched shut or jerked open into the round 'O' of shock. He doesn't just have eyebrows, he has a monobrow.

Also - Clive, mythical????

More emoticon charades: here's a character from a famous children's novel.

___ ____________

Flat Stanley!

(All right, all right, it's not very good, but it's either this or me actually doing some work.)

Karen said...

The emoticon guy (guy? I think it's non-gender specific) is a behavioural psychologist's dream, absolutely stripped of any ambiguity or ambivalence. It reminds you of some of the limitations of the medium- you lose so much tone and inflection that you have to resort to these facile little signs- stimulus good, stimulus bad. It is language moving towards its end, isn't it? There isn't really much room for playfulness, as there might be with sms language.
(Which is a very dull and morose thing to say, given how funny and charming your post was, but I haven't had my hit of tea yet. Am happy to assist in your not doing any work, but I really had better do some myself).

TimT said...

I don't use them much, though I will cop the use of gender-specific terms for non-gender-specific images (not entirely - see the bit about assicons and titicons in the previous post).

They are pretty clever, though - much cleverer than SMS language, which is often just an excuse for bad/lazy spelling (says he, cantankerously).

Karen said...

I will cop the use of gender-specific terms

I'm sorry! That wasn't supposed to be a criticism (cf. the point about tone). I'm very cantakerous, but I wouldn't be cantakerous to you. Gosh, I keep making so many mistakes with my comments here!
Your emoticons are very clever, but they're not in the ordinary run of things. I don't use them very often, but when I feel the urge it's inevitably because I'm being too lazy to communicate what I mean properly or I'm apprehensive that the other person won't understand what I mean. I don't use sms language either, but I do recognise that it offers an opportunity to play with puns, sound, etc- not that most of its users avail themselves of the opportunity.

Caz said...

Beautiful stuff Timmy.

I'll steal these and use them when opportunity arises.

Emoticons are are great device for conveying feeling on blogs, and - for personal messages - in emails. (People who use emoticons in business emails should be shot.)

Just as blog / chat abbreviations convey our state with unambiguous brevity, so too can emoticons, and they do so instantaneously, as it were.

ROFLMA is far more compelling and convincing than the words spelt out.

Ditto a keyboard generated cheesy grin to convey milder amusement.

So, how does one generate an emoticon to convey: "I'm laughing with you, not at you"?

TimT said...

Laughing with you:


Laughing at you:


Um, maybe 'laughing with you not at you' would be a combination of the two? I would use the 'strike' function at this point, but blogger won't let me. The whole thing is a little like algebra, isn't it?

Email: timhtrain - at -

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