July 28, 2004

Those Repellent Computer Smiley-Faces To

Those Repellent Computer Smiley-Faces

To many people, the history of mankind is a story of human progress. Today, for instance, the world boasts many more “haves” and fewer “have nots” than it did a century ago. (We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” consider ourselves members of the “have not” community, since we cannot afford a Subaru Outback, but this is another matter.)

To be sure, there is much to recommend this vision of human history: Formerly, the world was full of repressive regimes run by odious thugocracies, and today we have Saudi Arabia. Times sure are a-changin'.

But before you wholeheartedly embrace this “narrative of progress” (as our friends in comparative literature departments would say), we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” would like to argue that things are not so cut-and-dried. After all, one needn’t be a staunch reactionary to conclude that a few things were better in the past.

For example, once upon a time one could use the locution “mankind” in the first sentence of your publication without fear of reprisal from what jazz singer Gil Scott-Heron termed “hairy-armed liberationists.” Further, the 1800s knew not Billy Joel. So much for unfettered progress.

May we suggest, dear reader, that human history is both the story of progress and decline? That way, we can set up these counterpoised pictures of the world—human history as unending progress and human history as unending decline—as straw men. Or, as our feminist friends would have it, straw womyn.

Let us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” offer you a humble example. For many of us, the computer has been a great boon. These fancy machines can perform all kinds of tasks at speeds previously unknown. And, thanks to Al Gore’s beauteous Internet, the computer has brought convenience, joy, and pornography to us all.

Still, the computer has not only served as an asset to man. And this brings us—rather circuitously, to be sure—to the subject of today’s edition of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”: Those repellent computer smiley-faces. For, before the age of the computer, such irksome things were unheard of.

You know what we are talking about, dear reader: Virtually everyone with an e-mail account has received a message from an acquaintance just brimming with these silly computerized scribbles. For those of you blissfully unaware of what we are discussing, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” shall fashion a fake e-mail chock-a-block with computer smiley-faces.

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Fake E-Mail Chock-a-Block with Computer Smiley-Faces:


It was so great to see you last night! You are so much fun :) I totally had a great time ;) I really liked your boyfriend :--) He is really awesome :>)

Well, talk to you soon. Hugs and kisses <3


We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” know what you are thinking: If we all had an acquaintance half as irritating as Jen, nary a soul would support gun control. Very true. But that’s not our point. Surely you can see how these wretched sideways smiley-faces and kindred examples of computerized foolishness are extremely distasteful? They’re kind of like keyboard versions of dotting one’s lower-case “I”s and “J”s with circles, in place of the more conventional dot. They’re like the IBM way of informing your friends that you should have been named Barbie.

To make matters worse, these computerized eyesores are so unimaginative. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can easily come up with a few such e-mail calamities that are far more interesting. In fact, we offer a choice sample below:

/:--) [A smiling fellow with a comb-over that isn’t fooling anyone]

O-) [A smiling Cyclops with a huge eye]

#:^) [A smiling fellow with train tracks on his head]

:^) ? [A smiling sideways version of Batman’s notorious enemy, the Riddler]

--- [An Ethiopian]

X;--) [A winking Spike Lee, complete with Malcolm X baseball cap]

Well, dear reader, we think that you get the picture. Although we have to admit that our additions to the computer smiley-face are fairly clever, they’re still irritating. So, the next time anyone sends you a missive replete with such exercises in e-juvenilia, remind him—or, more likely, her—that they are a disgraceful blight. If that doesn’t stop your pal Bambie from writing to you, nothing will.

Posted at July 28, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack