One of those stories that makes me feel like Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”

Gran Torino Movie Review

Pictured: the author, if he were cool and tough. 



When it comes to emojis, women can be brides or princesses, paint their fingernails, get a haircut and go dancing in a red dress. If those sound like roles determined by the patriarchy, well, it’s not a new complaint.

But it may be changing. Google wants to add 13 emojis to represent women, and their male counterparts, in professional roles.

“Isn’t it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?” said a proposal from a team of Google employees that was submitted to the Unicode Consortium, which serves as the midwife to new emojis.

The proposed emojis include women in business and health care roles, at factories and on farms, among other things.

This isn’t a leftist complaint about modern feminism. I think representations do matter, both for personal judgement and societal expectations. Symbols are often as powerful as actions, and changing underlying and even unspoken assumptions about gender roles is important. And it isn’t a complaint about emojis. Communication evolves, and pictograms aren’t exactly a new innovation. I think there can be a discussion about if they (and other text language) actually enhance or degrade communication, but that’s neither here nor there.

It just a reflection of me, and how the world has certainly passed me by. “Emojis? We’re talking about emojis? Of all the damn things…”  Honestly, I’m ok with it. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with the new- there isn’t- but deciding that you don’t have to be up on everything is really liberating. I don’t know if there is an emoji for semi-grouchy complacency, but if there is, that’s my face.

“Until we find out what’s going on” Continues To Be Official Trump Policy


Pictured: John Kerry?

Remember when John Kerry was permanently labeled a “flip-flopper” thanks to a smart Bush team and an enabling press, who, with few exceptions, loved the label, adopted it, and breathlessly discussed it? It was fine to discuss his positions and character, of course, but any normal political act was instantly labeled another “flip-flop” by a press almost sexually enamored of a swaggering war President.

That’s normally how things work. Labels get stuck because the press is lazy and people easily accept quick caricatures in place of actual characterization. Bush was dumb (instead of arrogantly incurious), Gore was boring and a liar (instead of neither), McCain was grouchy (true!), Obama was aloof and arrogant (kind of true), etc. That’s the way it usually works.

That’s why one of the more genuinely frightening things about this election is that it has revealed, once and for all, the power of pure thuggishness in the face of any rationality. It’s why no labels have really stuck on Donald Trump. The rage he channels is enough to flatten the incredible contradictions, reversals, and sheer ignorance that underpins his campaign, like a boiling river leveling a hapless and god-beseeching floodplain town. His position on terrorism, or rather “terrorism”, makes this clear.

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