When you read this bit of news I’m about to share with you, you’re either going to wonder: What took them so long? or What’s the world coming to?
So what’s the news?
Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year for 2015. All the dictionaries do it— choose a word that’s relatively new that captures the essence of a particular year. This year Oxford’s word is:
You read that right! There’s nothing to read. Just look. Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year is not a word, it’s an emoji. The name of the emoji is Tears of Joy. But you could see that couldn’t you?
I could see this coming. I knew it was a matter of time before emojis enjoyed a wider cultural relevance. I got a good sense of that earlier this year when students and friends bombarded me with texts and tweets, out-of-their-mind thrilled that Apple had, in their iOS 9.1 update for the iPhone, added this emoji:
(To know me is to know that I love tacos)
If you find yourself wondering what the world is coming to, consider what Brad Ovenell-Carter always says, “The ancients stole all our ideas.” We’re just cycling back to our past, back to hieroglyphs and cave paintings. And remember that language itself is made up of images, visual jots and tittles that correspond arbitrarily to things and ideas. And images themselves have their own grammar. We gotta learn to read it all. And write with it all, as my friend Amy Burvall has been emphatically evangelizing for.
So before I fall too far behind this curve, here is my first emoji composition: