From an E-mail to an English-Teacher-Friend This Morning

“GIFS and Emojis are ‘creative’ ‘extenders’ of expression, language, communicators of thought and feeling, and visual, of course, as opposed to words, language.
This is all part of a longer trend (started by movies, musicals, and then online stuff of the last 2 decades) to extend, supplant, and ultimately downplay Word and language in a hyper-visual, more kinetic-oriented culture. Extensions a la McLuhan, but with the visual edging out Word, making it more possible for non-readers, non-book types, non-traditionally-higher-educated types, non-writers to be socially acceptable and to not be ‘held back’ via traditional literacy shortcomings and limitations. Freeing old limits and limitations.
Obviously, non-verbal communication has long been important; these two methods extend those possibilities.
Of the non-verbal modes, Touch remains the big, most essential one, I figure, (way beyond Emojis!) in communicating and connecting, and in terms of live in-person presence. So I have no problems with non-verbal per se, in passing. Touch can say and do as much as and more than Word depending on contexts.
But words and Voice are still incredibly powerful drugs. They can do way more than Emojis and, for the most part– in most social, work, play, and general communication situations–than cutesy faces. They represent and express our deeper, significant thoughts and emotions.
That all said, I’d hate to be reading essays and prose today with Emojis sprinkled throughout them. My life has been largely about Word and language (much as I love photography, painting, music, movies, Nature); they all feed my life in any case. I guess I identify more with the essay-writer in your other article yesterday. His is a rich enough landscape (‘mere’ words) without needing any weak supplementary props or visual extras.”


“Shallowness spreads.” –Daniel Liebert

“Most of one’s life is a prolonged effort to avoid thinking.” –Aldous Huxley

“The proper study of mankind is books.” –Aldous Huxley

“Literature is not about something: it is the thing itself, the quiddity.” –Vladimir Nabokov

“Art serves to rinse out our eyes.” –Karl Kraus

“Language is our common denominator.” –William Hazlitt

“Language is the soul’s ozone layer.” –Sven Birkerts

“The limits of language stand for the limits of my world.” –Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Any landscape is a condition of spirit.” –Henri-Frederic Amiel

“Touch is greater proof than words.” –Richard Davies

“Touch is the meaning of being human.” –Andrea Dworkin

“I love a broad margin to my life.” –Henry David Thoreau


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