From a simple smile spawns a cowboy lifestyle full of smoking, wild behavior, and shootouts with outlaws. If an emoticon can grow up to be a rough and rowdy cowboy, there is no doubt your son could as well.I just got back from the International Emoticon Conference in the Netherlands where we discussed the current state of emoticons and the need to advance the medium to new levels of interactivity, including full integration with developing virtual reality technologies. I go to these conferences frequently, which is why I phone in most of my updates. It's important to me to be at the forefront of emoticon science, because sooner or later it will be the only form of communication and expression left. We covered a lot of ground at the conference, but what got me thinking the most were the conversations and debates I had with my fellow emoticonologists.The beloved banjo emoticon may look happy, but his failure to do any other activity hints at a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.It turns out there are a number of concerns being raised by emoticons that haven't been dealt with by the media or leading authorities. That is, the lifestyles and agendas promoted by emoticons and also their idealistic appearances. Emoticons seem to exist in a world free from the laws of physics and aging where everyone looks perfect. One of my colleagues at the event, Professor Bernard Beeble, argues that our current obsession with perfection in the appearance of emoticons will have a startling effect on society. He believes that people will be motivated towards radical facial reconstruction surgery in order to look more like our immaculate emoticon counterparts, with their perfectly symmetrical curves and balanced features.

I personally worry more about the lifestyle and agendas they promote rather than the unrealistic standards of beauty they embrace. Emoticons, being at the pinnacle of modern communication, are in prime position to influence society in ways we may not yet fully comprehend. Today's youth are like wads of Playdoh engineered to be even more malleable, so it doesn't take much effort to shape them into stunning monuments of stupidity. Similarly, it wouldn't take much effort to shape them into something sinister by disguising a harmful agenda behind a colorful smile and clever animation.

With that in mind, I want to take some time to dissect some emoticons in an attempt to understand the ideologies and messages that they are promoting. I feel that if we have a better understanding and awareness of these messages, we are better able to think for ourselves instead of following along blindly like sheep for the slaughter. Let's get started!

This busy little emoticon goes by the name of "Happy Chatter." Superficially speaking, we can clearly see the hows and whys behind the nomenclature. From a more analytical standpoint, however, we see shades of a dangerous lifestyle. When we think of high-risk living, we often think of drugs, guns, gay rodeo, or wanton usage of unshielded pencil sharpeners. Inaction and a lack of personal concern is another form of high-risk living. This emoticon smokes, drinks – note the precariously placed glass of wine – and sits dangerously close to the computer monitor all while showing no interest in a social life outside of this monotonous existence. Whatever happiness "Happy Chatter" clings to is clearly an alcohol inspired foray into self-delusion. Ladies and gentlemen, we do not want people living this kind of lifestyle.
It's interesting that emoticons, a means of communication completely separate from vocal communication, would be having a telephone conversation with one another. It's almost as if they are saying, "look at us, we can have long telephone conversations whereas you can only instant message people about anime." Perhaps this is a case where emoticons promote a positive agenda: using more personal and intimate communication methods. It's a funny thought, but we seem to be living in an age where some of our emoticons are more sociable than we are.
I have no idea what to make of this sickly little guy, but he was denoted as being "not straight." Believe it or not, I have met some gay people in my days and none of them behaved in quite this manner. True, I have no idea what they do in the bedroom, but I doubt it involves holding some kind of color-changing, hand-raising ritual. Perhaps the key to understanding what is being depicted in this emoticon is to simply extrapolate what isn't being shown. But given the abundant gayness, I feel that's something best suited for another researcher.
Emo culture is all the rage these days, usurping goth as the number one culture for whining crybabies. This emoticon depicts a typical emo kid pursuing his favorite pastime: suicide. Has it really come to this? Has it come to the point where emoticons no longer want to live? The utopian world that the classic laid the foundations for now rests in rubble. The tainted origins of the self-destructive trace back to the tangled roots of 's archetypical nemesis, . A Greek tragedy has played out with three simple graphics. And now begins the grand debate. What happens to an emoticon when it dies?
Here we have an emoticon audaciously parading into philosophy's version of an Indian burial ground. Are we now to believe that the emoticon has an immortal soul? Since when were they even sentient beings? Now we have emoticons imbued with divine qualities, pushing the medium into a dangerous quagmire of religious dogma. Science can tell us a lot about heaven. For instance, we know that once you die, your soul crosses a rainbow bridge into a cloudy world populated with all your old pets, each carrying American flags and wagging their tails in joyful fervor. But does the Bible say anything about emoticons being there? No, it does not. The message this emoticon sends is dangerous to children, since they may become too attached to emoticons and are likely not ready to deal with the harsh realities of death.
This little guy, described as "Orthodox Jew with Torah," is clearly promoting a Zionist agenda. Whereas must emoticons shun connotations with religion in favor of promoting a future devoid of individuality and dominated by universal conformity, this emoticon wants everyone at Temple on Saturday and doing their part to secure the Holy Land for exclusive Jewish usage. I don't know much about Jews aside from the fact that the females lay thousands of eggs to compensate for the low survival rate, but I do not think their agenda belongs anywhere near my chat logs. Nor do I want naïve youths dragging this emoticon out in a conversation, growing curious, then recklessly traveling down the system of shadowy alleyways that constitutes the veins of the Jewish faith's circulatory system! We simply do not need this emoticon trying to convert people!

This single use emoticon exists solely to promote 2005, and in the worst way possible. In studying this emoticon in great detail, I have determined that the appendage extruding from the yellow figure is clearly a penis. In response to the previous Orthodox Jew emoticon, I was not able to ascertain if the yellow smiley pictured was circumcised or not.

Is oral sex the best way to usher in the New Year? If you're a married adult, perhaps! But for the millions and millions of impressionable young adults, this emoticon endorses lewd and potentially unsafe behavior. This assumption is heightened by the unusual color of the face performing the act. The pink could very well be indicative of a STD or similar ailment. We simply do not know enough about emoticon immune systems and biological functions to understand at this point, so we simply cannot rule anything out.

I hope that my efforts help you come to see emoticons in a new light. We are heading towards a new future where emoticons are integral in communication. The question we have to ask ourselves is if we want them to dictate for us our emotions and range of expression ala a sort of Orwellian Newspeak, or if we want them to take communication to a new level of exchange. I find myself aiming for the former, but only if rigid standards are applied that prevent such emoticon travesties as the ones discussed today. Given the tremendous volume of emoticons out there, it wouldn't be a bad idea to take on a Newspeak policy of reducing the library of emoticon expressions in order to clear out the superfluous clutter.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

More Front Page News

This Week on Something Awful...

Copyright ©2014 Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka & Something Awful LLC.