Before I begin my update, let me wow you with this bit of information you probably already read yesterday!

Richard "Lowtax" Kayak, headmaster of Something Awful, is going to be at the San Diego Comic-Con with his friends Mega64, hawking all sorts of new merchandise such as season 2 of Mega64 and the Doom House deluxe ultra special edition as well as some other items of interest. Be sure to stop by and visit them at booth 5033, the very same booth 5033 where 57 women and children were murdered two years ago to this day.

But don't take my word for it, read this professional press release prepared by our public relations patsies!

And now my update of fanciful wonders:

The world of online smilies is constantly expanding as artists from around the globe tirelessly work to translate the rich tapestry of the human condition into tiny little yellow faces. I must confess that not a day goes by that I don't utilize at least a half dozen smilies to pepper my online communications with color and spirit. Unfortunately, for all the practicality of an emoticon such as the beloved "smiley face," which conveys happiness and mirth, there are a million other feelings and situations that are ignored. There is simply no smiley that accurately captures the feeling one suffers following the loss of a loved one, just as there is no smiley to convey the sense of relief that comes when the shark that has been pursuing your family's house boat falls into a diabetic coma.

While there are many people trying to fix this problem, most of them are utterly incompetent and, as a result, create useless smilies that serve no higher function or purpose. I would like to take a few moments of your time to review some of the latest smilies to come my way online. To help evaluate these smilies, I will be using a "Smith" ranking scale that goes from 1 to 5 (5 being the most useless). Smith, for those unaware, is a prodigious smiley from the SA Forums that sums up all the failings of the human race perfectly.

When it comes to brushing one's teeth, I think it is much safer to do it in real life rather than letting a smiley do it for you. This method might look nice online, but it doesn't keep your teeth from rotting out from under you like floorboards in a haunted old mill you inherited from your dead uncle. Sure you can use this smiley after you type "BRB I'm going to brush my teeth," but at that point you've already typed it out and you pretty much got the job done. At that point, only an idiot would still require a visual representation of what you just said. If you just use this smiley without explanation, then it will only serve to confuse people. I say it's time we brush aside this smiley.

Smith rating:

It appears our little friend here is hungry. If you take a close look at this bright-eyed fellow, you can see he perfectly epitomizes the asshole that shows up to the potluck with only his appetite, and gladly consumes as much food as possible before leaving. This is the type of huckster that deserves a savage beating, yet largely escapes all deserved punishments to live a peaceful life of parasitism. The only solace comes from the fact that his blue face could indicate blockage. He may well slowly be choking on his own decadence.

Smith rating:

Here we see the smiley medium being dragged into the sewers of perversion by unsavory types. Aside from the lack of hygiene demonstrated by these two emoticonians, I have to wonder what if any benefits this gives to the online community. Is "ass to mouth" such a common thing that we need a visual representation to whip out while chatting on Internet forums or instant messaging? And even then, should we really be talking about it at all? I hope both of these yellow exhibitionists get some serious STIs and UTIs for lowering our visual discourse.

Smith rating:

Oh look, these two smilies have a secret. Great, thanks for filling us in, you stupid little cretins. First of all, this does not communicate anything. If you want to whisper a secret to someone online you are pretty much fucked. We don't have whispering on the Internet. WE TYPE IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW WE COMMUNICATE. The best you can do is TYPE OUT A SECRET and hope the other person doesn't cut/paste it to your worst enemy. Second, it looks more like the secret is between the smilies themselves, and not you and your chat buddy. Finally, the pink smiley has a hand and arm that is ridiculously large, but not as ridiculous as the genitalia on the smiley reviewed above.

Smith rating:

I suppose the purpose of this smiley is to depress people and remind them how hopeless they are and that the horrible stench of failure will follow them all the way to the Kingdom of Heaven, where they will live eternally as an abysmal excuse of an entity. Unfortunately for the creator of this smiley I do not use the Internet to feel bad about myself. I use it to order Soviet era garden equipment from eBay, an act that brings me joy and a tremendous sense of self worth. I suppose the down in the dumps MySpace kiddies have use for such tragic smilies to out-depress one another, but my sunshiny Internet has no room for doom and gloom.

Smith rating:

I must confess that this smiley has me highly divided. Let me quickly break down why:

Pros:

  • Polite and gentlemanly.
  • Wears hat well.

Cons:

  • Most people online are indoors, thus this emoticon is indoors by proxy. People should not wear hats indoors as it is uncouth and disrespectful. This simple fact ultimately negates the gentlemanly nature of the smiley.
  • A little too polite...

In the end we are left with a simple choice: do the pros eat the cons or do the cons eat the pros? It is because of this tormented duality that I am forced to give it three Smiths, as opposed to one or five.

Smith rating:

I would have to rank this little guy as my top up-and-coming star, soon to set alight the skies of the future. I see him reaching high, rising like a bright yellow sun that never sets. Frankly, it's clear just from looking at him that he belongs there. This is truly a case of an emoticon doing its job and capturing emotion. What emotion is that? Well, it's hard to nail down. Our friend here is elusive and mysterious, taking us on a visceral emotional boxcar ride into unknown realms of ambiguity. He conveys as much as the human face, if not more.

Smith rating:

This smiley is, in my opinion, the dumbest ever made. It is referred to as "Mad Max" and is mainly used online by SA writer DocEvil, who apparently knows nothing of quality. It is ugly, unfunny, stupid, and boring. I don't know why, but I just hate this smiley with all my heart and soul. I sincerely want to rip his stupid little headband off and strangle him with it, but unfortunately for me he has no neck.

Smith rating:

This smiley, known simply as "Don't turn your back on Shaq," captures in raw detail the sorrow and heartache that comes from turning one's back on basketball star Shaquille O'Neal. At some point, we may be put in such a position, and in such cases we can only hope to God for the strength and resolve necessary to survive. In some cases an image can say what words cannot. This is one such case.

Smith rating:

I hope you have all learned a great deal from this emoticon roundup. I can only speculate on what new smilies will be created in the coming years, but I do not doubt they will sink to new depths of despair. Let us hope the inevitable does not come to pass.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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