They're Evil?

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"If you believe in this (as I used to) and if you apply it to the topic of smileys, you arrive at the conclusion that smiley users are lazy writers who could get along just fine without smileys if only they took the trouble to revise and edit their work a little bit, to make the meaning clearer." -Neal Stephenson

This continues my chosen ambiguity on the issue of the smiley. 

I have a hard time feeling sympathy for the smiley when I have English teachers, turned professors this fall, harping on me at every corner, and every time I become a slight bit complacent in my writing, to be more specific.  Egregiously specific, if you will.

Of course, on the other side of the issue is time.  If I am writing something around five papers a week (I'm behind the times, so I consider any written work completed for school to be a paper), I do not have the time to proofread the rough draft, make a second draft, proofread that draft, make a third draft, edit that one, and come to a perfect final work.  Maybe it would make my writing fabulous, it certainly would not hurt me as much as turning in a rough draft with a brief spell check, but I really do not have the time to execute a rigorous writing schedule such as that.

If there is one thing to come out of this discussion on emoticons, it is that it drives home the idea of how meticulous you should be about writing.  Whether it is a hastily written blog or the term paper you have edited to the point that it is unrecognizable anymore, you should always be contemplating the words that you are randomly dispersing on the page.  It could be because I am lazy today, but I do not think that it is coincidental that most of these editorials deal with the issue of clarity in online work.

I do not think that the smiley is a panacea, as most of these articles lead us to believe.  I cannot post racial slurs on my blog with a smiley after the phrase, and expect people to just pass it off as a joke.  The smiley does not always denote what can be taken humorously, however it does denote what someone wants to be taken as a joke for various reasons.

As always, these are my own views, so please feel free to comment.  I will allow every (clean) comment to remain.

Happy birthday emoticons.  Blow out the cake! ;-O Cake

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