Where I Stand on Emoticons

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"Many people have denounced the very idea of the smiley face, pointing out that good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments. Shakespeare and Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain got along just fine without this. And by labeling the remarks that are not meant to be taken seriously, we spoil the joke. In satirical writing, half the fun is in never being quite sure whether the author is serious or not." -Scott Fahlman

I never have use for emoticons in my writing because I am so serious.  In all seriousness though, I am unsure of the stance to take on smileys.

On the one side of the issue, I like the element of ambiguity that sarcams gives to my writing.  It makes me feel better about writing knowing that English teachers and professors have a hard time pinning me down to something and telling their future classes, "Fetterman was a proponent of the 'Give Bikes the Vote' movement."  Of course, that assumes that I will write something that English scholars feel compelled to talk of for years to come, but that is beside the point.  Oscar Wilde said that it was the artists aim to both conceal and reveal the intent behind his or her work, and that is one approach I have taken toward my writing.

The problem begins when this sarcasm carries over to my school work, which is supposed to be clear and concise.  I do not remember exactly what paper it was on, but I made one of my silly little puns that everyone loves.  Upon receiving said paper back in Seminar in Thinking and Writing, I noticed that Dr. Arnzen had written "You are so sarcastic" in the margin.  But the honest-to-God, scare-the-pants-off-me moral of the story is this: I did not realize what I was doing when I wrote the sentence.  I have a problem that I did not admit.  Welcome to SA: Sarcasmaholics Anonymous.  Hi, I'm Jed, and I have had a problem with sarcasm for about four years now.

Maybe a good solution is to put some emoticons in my online writing.  At the very least, it would make me aware of when I should tone down the "humor" of my writing.  But then I have to worry about confusing myself, so I do not know what to say.

I think that the only thing that can be said is that emoticons stink... :-)  Figure that one out.

And when you do, visit the place that is overflowing with the innocent humor of emoticons.


Aja Hannah said:

I love your humor! And I can totally relate to writing in your own voice at inappropriate times. I use my own writing voice, which includes fragmented sentences often, in some papers by accident. My writing voice like emoticons can be applied to certain places and times.

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