A Picture? I've Seen That Somewhere Before (Smile)

(36 comments)

🤣😠🥵 don't 🤬 🛠 that way

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📅 April 22nd, 2017. 🎵🔝 Ed Sheeran’s “🔺 of You,” while ⤵️ in the charts are Julia Michaels, Kendrick Lamar, Clean Bandit, and Harry Styles. 🗞 Theresa May calls a snap 🗳 to try to secure a clear parliamentary majority for Brexit, which is going to go a bit 😬 for her, but that’s another entry. Mike Pence visits 🇰🇷 and goes to the border with 🇰🇵 and glare at it in a 🤔 attempt at ⚛️🚀 disarmament. And Bill O’Reilly is fired from 🦊 News due to his persistent tendency to engage in 🍆 assault.

📺, 😁. Frank Cottrel Boyce’s previous effort, In the 🌳🌳 of the 🌃 (or 🐅 for short), was a curiously mixed affair, combining 😍 ambition with deeply 🥴 execution. With 😁, however, he dials both back, going for a classic 🛸 setup instead of the quasi-🧙🏻‍♂️ approach of 🐅 and then playing it more or less straight. 😁 has essentially 2️⃣ purposes: giving 👩🏾‍🦱 her first proper adventure and exploring its own 🛸💡. The former means that the latter have to largely 🖍 in the lines, offering an easily recognizable set of tropes as a 🖼 against which the audience can clearly distinguish 👩🏾‍🦱. This is largely 😥, because 😁 has some 🤩💡, but, not unlike 🐅, precious little follow through.

Where it is 😎, however, is in terms of 👩🏾‍🦱. The dynamic between her and the 👨‍⚕️ is instantaneous and compelling. We’ve never really gotten to see Capaldi’s 👩‍⚕️ in “just having fun” mode. (The start of 🤖 of Sherwood is about the only exception.) Part of it is that Matt Smith got these equivalent episodes for 👩🏻, but most 👨‍⚕️ still have adventures late in a companion’s run that they get into while larking around. Consider the 👩‍⚕️ and 👩🏻‍🦰 in The 👧 Who Waited, for instance. Or the 👨‍⚕️ and 👩🏼 at the top of ❤️ and 👹. But Capaldi’s 👩‍⚕️ and 👩🏻 did not have a relationship in which the 👨‍⚕️ could easily switch into fun mode, simply because to do so would undermine all of 👩🏻’s carefully crafted obsessions. But the 👩‍⚕️ in 😁 is fundamentally different, literally sneaking off like a truant 👦 skipping 🏫 to have this adventure behind 👨🏻‍🦲 back. 👩🏾‍🦱 is both the cause and beneficiary of this, not only offering the 👨‍⚕️ a reason to go explore an 👽🌍 but getting to have a story that is, for surprisingly long stretches of its runtime, basically a 👐. As a result, we just plain see more of 👩🏾‍🦱 in her first adventure on an 👽🌏 than we did of 👩🏻 in The 💍 of Akhaten or 👩🏼‍🦰 in The 👹 ⤵️.

This is especially useful because it’s rapidly becoming clear that one of 👩🏾‍🦱’s primary character traits is a boundless 🤔. Where 👩🏻 was defined largely in terms of her desire to help, or perhaps more accurately fix people, 👩🏾‍🦱, while certainly not without compassion (note that she gets both the discovery of the 👵🏽⚰️ and the 👦🏽), is interested in figuring things out and 🖌 conclusions, which is of course exactly what the 👩‍⚕️ was first drawn to about her back in The 👩‍🚀.

So as a character piece for introducing 👩🏾‍🦱, 😁 is basically fine. It’s not extraordinary and 😮 episode, but these early character pieces rarely are. It’s later in their 🌈, when we know companions well, that we get stories like 🚗⬅️ or whose genius is rooted almost purely in their character work. 😁 belongs to a class of stories that, when it comes to the companions, have a job to do and generally do it. What makes them 😍 or 🤮 is their 💡.

Unfortunately, when it comes to 💡, 😁 is, if not 🤮, at least 😬. Let’s start with the 😎😶🤪🤖, or more broadly with the basic idea of 😚😶🤔. The idea of 😪😠🙃 being the sole part of human 💬 to survive into the future is 😆, but also really 😎. 👩🏻‍🎤 remember a year or so ago when Alex made a post about the 📦 that constrain our 🧠, noting that while it’s easy to 💭 coming up with new words, it’s neary impossible to 💭 new parts of 💬. 👩🏻‍🎤 had a cool idea about words one could add to a sentence that would convey a mood or color, which could either reinforce parts of the sentence or add contrast, but the more honest answer is simply to 👉 out that we have recently invented an entirely new part of 💬, namely 😡😋🤕.

Consider: 😨😛🥴 can not only be used as straightforward text replacement as 👩🏻‍🎤 have been doing throughout this post, but for a variety of purposes that do not 🗺 easily onto traditional 💬   roles. For instance, 🤔 the sentence “Looking forward to dinner tonight 🥩🥔🥗😋,” which is perfectly ordinary thing to 📲 someone you’re going to 🍽 with, and where the 😉🤠🤥 communicate the information “we’ll be having 🥩, some sort of 🥔, and a 🥗, and my opinion of this is 👍” in such a way as to render all of that linking text implicit. Furthermore, that linking text is only implicit because of the preceding 💬. “🥩🥔🥗😋” on its own may communicate a desire for the aforementioned 🥩🥔🥗, but the relationship among the terms is considerably more 🤔.  We might also note the various ways in which text replacement might work. 👩🏻‍🎤 haven’t had cause to mention the story, but referring to it as 🔪 the 🌕 is obviously different than referring to it as 🌕🕷🥚💥🐉. Both equally clearly refer to the story, but their means of representing it are very different, with the 😵😗🤫 in the former serving as literal word-for-word substitutes, while the 😰☺️🧐 in the latter describe the episode’s contents. (See also The 😄💂‍♀️ vs 😄🍬💀🐩 or, of course, The 🕸🌎 vs 🥼🐜🚨🦋🐛🐝🏅🦑🍯🎥.)

Even more 🤔, and getting towards 👩🏻‍🎤 idea of words that add shade or tone to a 💬, is the use of 🤯😁🤤 in a way that amounts to a commentary on one’s mood. For instance, “looking forward to dinner tonight 💃✨💃✨💃✨” implies a degree of elegance and glamour that is markedly different from “looking forward to dinner tonight 💖💖💖” and its promise of romance. More succinctly, we might 🤔 the difference between “Fantastic 😍” and “Fantastic 😡,” in which the 🤐😇🤪 provide a grammatical equivalence to tone of voice in conveying sincerity versus sarcasm.

All of which is to say that 🧐😨😝 are an actually complex phenomenon of 💬, and the 💡 of them as an actual telos of 📝💬 is a really interesting 🛸💡 that could be given serious thought. Which makes the 👨‍⚕️ 💬 describing the 🌎 as “the utopia of vacuous teens” deeply 🤬. It’s like the episode is 😱 of its own best idea, and more to the point, 😱 of teenagers and, let’s be honest given the gendered connotations of 😌😲😖, specifically of 👩. 💩.

More to the point, though, the basic idea of 🧐🤥🥰 🤖 is treated as primarily good for a joke. And while there certainly are some good 😆, most obviously the 👀 gag of the 👩‍⚕️ emoji badge featuring absolutely titanic eyebrows, the jokes are mostly lame and tame. Surprising nobody given the episode’s 😡 towards 😮😜🥺 and teenagers, there’s really no effort made to actually engage with the linguistic depth of 😉🤢😟. The 😩🙄😇 🤖 effectively use 🥴😠🤯 as a sort of mood 💍, displaying a narrow band of smiley-based 🥶🤓😠 alongside a couple of things like 🗝 and 🔫 that are still used essentially to depict moods. Significant plot points, such as the accumulating 💧 to mark the 😍😧🤪 🤖 progress towards trying to kill you, are at best hazily rooted in the actual material practice of 🥳🤒🙂—although distinct 😢 and 😭 🤮🥰🥺 exist, 😭 is on almost all 📱 defined not by the fact that it has two 💧 but by the fact that the 💧 are a full-on 🌊. (Indeed, on at least one 📱 😢 had two 💧 at the time this episode was made.) The 💡 that 😗😶😅 depict increasing levels of 😢 through added quantities of 💧 just isn’t a thing. Nor, of course is the face with 💀 for 👀 and a 😬 expression. Indeed, the 😍😮🥰 🤖 entire practice of displaying one 🤕🤣😕 in the 👀 while using the 👄 to show actual emotion is, again, not actually how 🤒😉🙃 work. And there’s literally none of the higher level 🥺😊🤗 use whereby 😶😉😣 are used not as a mood 💍 but as an entire vocabulary of other concepts. 👩🏻‍🎤 don’t expect the 🇬🇧📺 to use things like 🍑 or 🍆 in a 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 show, but from 😁 you wouldn’t 💭 that 🧐🤧😜 have things like 🦄, 🏵, or 🚡.

More ornately 🤢 is the implicit ideology of all of this. The plot, after all, is that the Vardies and the 😇😧😢 🤖 so egregiously misunderstood 😥 as an emotion that they attempted to cure it, and, when they failed, opted for ☠️. Which serves to link 😨😁😧 with a kind of intensely facile understanding of emotion itself—a kind of pathetically “get off my 🏡🌱” sentiment about how 🧒👧 these days need to look up from their 📱 and get some real 👭. It’d be 🤢 on its own merits, but in a story where 😚😡😬 are a central idea it constitutes an 👺 reactionary tendency that is in its own way as nasty as 📦🤖💀 (aka 💥).

The reactionary tendency becomes even more pronounced in the resolution, which freely combines 🤨 plot logic, 😬 imperialist ideology, and outright 🤦‍♀️ narrative satisfaction. In it, the destruction of a 😌😨🥵 🤖 reveals that, despite having been established to be mere 💻 interfaces for the actual 🤖, the 🐝-like swarm of Vardies, the 🥰😳😚 🤖 are a self-aware species that are thus deserving of autonomy. There are several problems here. First, it is more or less impossible to reconcile with the ↩️ plot. The 👨‍⚕️ immediately launches into a full explanation of the ✨🐟 thing he’d been 💬 on about all episode, but this makes no sense given that it’s supposed to be a 💡 he’s just had.

Secondly, however, there’s something very 🤔 about how it’s expressed. The 👩‍⚕️ unhelpfully explains that “The Vardy are identifying as under attack, which means they identify as a species. They are self-aware. They, they're alive!” But identifying as under ⚔️in no way translates to a concept of specieshood or to self-awareness, as a 🔒🚨 can readily demonstrate. And that’s before we get to the 🤔 use of “identify,” a term that’s far too often used to delegitimize gender identity by 🎯 it as a thing that is constructed by an active process inside the 🧠 instead of as an actual property of a person. c.f. “my gender is ⚔️🚁.” This is presumably not Boyce’s intention, since 👨‍⚕️ sides with the 🤖 and validates their specieshood, but the distancing whereby they “identify” as a species instead of you know, *being* one is 😬.

But all of this frankly pales before the decision to have 👩‍⚕️ describe the 🤖 as the new indigenous species of the planet. As with the idea of 😷🥳🤩 as a discrete form of 💬, this is a fascinating idea—a team of 🚀 colonists send 🤖 out ahead of them to prepare the 🌎,  and the 🤖 subsequently become an indigenous species who view the 🚀 as colonists in the 🇬🇧 Empire sense instead of the 🚀 utopian one. But much like 😇🤥😟, 😄 is unwilling to 💭 this in an interesting “develop a 💡” way, instead reducing it to a cheap joke in which the 👨‍⚕️ suggests the 🤖 charge rent and their eyes light up with 💷. Not only is this 😴 inducingly unimaginative, the idea that indigenous populations love colonists because they can make 💷 off of them is at best the sort of thing you’d expect from the ✒️ of the 🏝 of 😲 opening ceremony for the 2012 🇬🇧 Olympics, and at worst just outright 🤬 racist.

There is a 📚 of 💭 oft 💬 by people like Jack that modern 👩‍⚕️❓ does not explore 💡 anymore, and is the poorer for it. 👩🏻‍🎤 remain 🤷‍♀️ about this as a value judgment, but there are fewer 🔍 more decisive for this case than 😄. There are countless 👨‍⚕️❓ stories for which 👩🏻‍🎤 have had to excavate 👻 versions that could have been but aren’t. But 😄 is unusual in that its more 💡 version is not 👻 the 📺 version, but actively 🚫 by it. 👩‍⚕️❓ has often failed to be interesting. Rarely, however, has it so aggressively disavowed being interesting, dismissing its best ideas as the province of vacuous teenagers and 💷 grubbing foreigners. 😄 does what is required of it, further establishing 👩🏾‍🦱 and being a reasonably 🥳 forty-five minutes of 📺. But it’s not only 😴 in doing more, it’s 😡.

It is not hard to see how to 🛠 this. All that it requires is that these 💡 not be ✍🏻️ by a 👨🏻‍🦳 who mistakes his 👀 for normativity. A version of 😄 written by 🧑🏻, 🧔🏿, 👩🏽‍🦰, or 🧕🏼 would be vastly more interesting than this because any of those ✍🏾️ would plausibly come at the 💡 with a sense of them as worth exploring instead of as merely 😎💩 to throw in the trailer. This isn’t even a point about the political virtues of 👨🏻‍🦱👩🏾👴🏾👱🏽‍♀️. It’s just a point about the fact that for 🛸, new 👁 add depth that actually and materially improves the stories. It’s not time for a non-👨🏻‍🦳📺🏃‍♂️ because of the political implications thereof. It’s because a show like 👨‍⚕️❓ that thrives on an ethos of doing something new every week legitimately needs new 💬 to do it with. Without them, you get things like 😄. There are worse things than 😄. But there’s wildly, wildly better ones too. As we’ll see next week.

Comments

luna 6 months, 3 weeks ago

👏👏👏!

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DC 6 months, 3 weeks ago

OK, I can barely read this, given all the broken symbols, and even if they were working I'm practically emoji illiterate anyway, but nevertheless!! This was a brilliant thing to do, El, well done 😁

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Jesse 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I guess my biggest question is what 🤯 is supposed to mean.

Don't get me wrong—there are other swaths of this that are only barely comprensible to me, even after I've blown up the screen to 175%. (That is the chief reason I hate emojis: I frequently have to squint hard to figure out what they're supposed to look like even before I start to think about what they're supposed to represent.) But that one is the most puzzling.

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Paul 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it's not being used to mean anything on its own here, but instead it's being used together with two other emoji to mean "emoji", i.e. "is the use of emoji in a way that amounts to a commentary on one’s mood".

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Jesse 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not always by itself, though—there are also spots like "at worst just outright 🤬 racist."

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Jesse 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Arg: I meant to type "It's sometimes by itself," not "It's not always by itself."

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mx_mond 6 months, 2 weeks ago

mindblowing(ly)

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Angus 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh god, my brain doesn't like this at all.

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Brian B. 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I, happily, was able to read this, and unfortunately to agree with its extremely well-made critique (even though I myself am an old white dad who doesn’t emoji at a deeper level than the bots do). I even was able to figure out “eggplant assault” the second time you did the eggplant. What the blazes is “my gender is attack helicopter”, though?

****
At a quibble level: there’s no contradiction in the Doctor identifying the Vardi as a species — the bots were before, and remain, communication tools (the colonists shot at the actual micro-swarm Vardi). There is, though, a massive and obnoxious contradiction between “the Earth sent out a variety of colony ships, I met several in prior Doctor Who stories” and, barely a minute or two later, “These are the last remnants of the human race”. I dislike condescending upping-the-stakes moments like that.

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Brian B. 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh wait. Just remembered “My gender is attack helicopter” is some transphobic joke — a Google search confirms that it’s common enough to be on Know Your Meme, even. I’ve heard it because of Gareth Roberts using it around you, I bet, right? Ugh.

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Rodolfo Piskorski 6 months, 2 weeks ago

It's supposed to be an Apache Helicopter, which is a war helicopter, I think. The initial joke is that nowadays people can just identify as whatever so this person said they identify as an Apache helicopter...

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Christopher Brown 6 months, 3 weeks ago

A new 💯 for the Eruditorum. Well 👨‍🍳ed.

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James Sommerville 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Very troubling that this entry is intelligible to me. 💩💩💩

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Lambda 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Reading this reminds me of reading Japanese as a moderately decent learner. For the uninitiated, almost every native word in it beyond grammatical stuff is made up of a combination of kanji, of which there are about 2000 in common usage. Each kanji has one or more meanings associated with it. So once you know the meanings of the 2000 kanji, most completely unfamiliar words can nevertheless be guessed at. For instance, you might be able to guess with a little context that 蛇口, snake-opening, is a tap. The point of which is mostly that the effect of emojis on language is going to vary a great deal depending on the sort of language. English doesn't normally have pictographs in, but that's not true of all languages.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It’s notable that emoji caught on in Japan well before they did in English-speaking countries.

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Sleepyscholar 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Indeed; the word 'emoji' is Japanese!

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AG 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Emoticons were in English fairly early on, though ASCII art was usually more than one line. Still, the complexities of basic emoticons grew quickly, with :) picking up sarcasm connotations, for example.

But there definitely is something to be said for how simply having a greater set of characters available to type pushed Japan to take single-line character "art" much further than English emoticons, such as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, /人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\, or (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ .

(>'-')> <('-'<) ^('-')^ v('-')v(>'-')> (^-^)

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Daibhid C 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Anyone else remember the ASCII 🦔s that used to litter Usenet signatures back in the day? Or was that only on alt.fan.pratchett?

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Rodolfo Piskorski 6 months, 2 weeks ago

It's an interesting that this essay could easily segue into a discussion of Derrida and writing. One of his main points was that Europeans should have revised their understanding of writing (and hence of language) when they encountered non-phonetic writing. Derrida argues that so-called linear, phonetic writing is not purely so, and that any writing system shows some traits of the non-phoneticism of Chinese writing, for example. Also, that these traits have always already been right there in language itself, even "before" writing. It's what he called writing before the letter (avant la lettre -- it's such a cool pun!). Of course, he also argued that even ideograms are already a bit phonetic just like alphabetical writing is already a bit non-phonetic (spacing and punctuation are good examples).

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Greg S. 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I originally interpreted (knife) the (moon) as "cut the cheese."

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Aaron 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Long time reader, first time commenter. Part of me was hoping this would be a full on emoji text in the style of the late carrie fishers tweets but this is probably the better option. I really liked how the doctor emoji was sometimes male sometimes female as well.

One thing that I always associate with this episode but wasn't really mentioned by you here is that I remember some of the promotional material around this saying that Boyce allegedly did actual research into current AI developments. However this mainly seems to have resulted in the Vardy getting their name from Andrew Vardy who works in the field of swarm AI. I myself am currently completing my bachelor in AI and while swarm behaviour certainly isn't the coolest thing out there it is nice to see that they tried and that the episodes doesn't go down the "All AI is evil" route as scifi usually does. The idea of treating AI as a new form of life is pretty wildly accepted in the field from my experiences, just a shame that the episode doesn't really do much to be convincing about it except have the doctor say a few lines about it. The fable to explain the plot device always seemed a bit meh to me here seeing as moffat did it much better in heaven sent.

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CJM123 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Has anyone here heard of Book from the Ground by Chinese artist Xu Bing? It's a book written entirely in an adapted form of Emoji designed to be "easily" read by most people in the world.

Also, what's The 😄💂‍♀️ ? I couldn't figure that out even though I got ever other title pretty quickly.

Finally, what was wrong with the Isle of Wonder opening ceremony? I can barely remember it and most people liked it.

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Greg S. 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It took me a while too, but that is "Happiness Patrol."

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Sleepyscholar 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I use the Isles of Wonder ceremony in a class about UK culture and current affairs, mainly because it provides a succinct and entertaining demonstration of British self-image -- self-delusion and all -- prior to the Brexit clusterfuck. I wouldn't defend it as great art, but I am curious what the criticism of it is here. In the context of what subsequently happened to the UK it is surprisingly inclusive and political. It provides a pretty visceral representation of what the Industrial Revolution did to the country, and the appearance of Windrush as a cause for celebration in modern Britain (is that the issue? A jibe about the colonised making money from the coloniser?) prefigures aptly the emergence of the eponymous scandal.

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Nindokag 6 months, 3 weeks ago

:clap: :clap: :clap: Bravo! This is brilliant!
I'm really enjoying the puzzle aspect. There's a couple i haven't figured out yet:

"we get stories like 🚗⬅️ or ➖ whose genius is..."
("Turn Left" and... "minus?" "black bar?" I'm gonna get it any minute now and then smack my forehead.)

" it constitutes an 👺 reactionary tendency"

I'm completely stumped by what "an [Tengu Mask] reactionary tendency" could possibly mean.

"its more 💡 version is not 👻 the 📺 version"

This in contrast was perfectly clear. I would not read ghost-emoji as "haunting" if any other author wrote it, but I've read enough of Dr. Sandifer's writing to be trained to expect phrases...

As for the episode itself... the emoji robots gesture towards something relevant and timely, namely: the danger of building a system that optimizes for the wrong thing. By eliminating unhappy people they were taking the shortest path to their goal of raising average happiness. This is essentially what silicon valley has been guilty of doing over the last decade; think of youtube/facebook/twitter optimizing for "engagement" and what we get is rage-clicks, disinformation, epistemic bubbles and conspiracy-theory rabbit-holes.

I'd love to see an episode that was actually ABOUT that thing instead of just gesturing towards it. But the ending is the resolution of a completely different story (about treating the robots as an indigenous life form?) from the one that was set up. It doesn't even add ress the same issues. It's one of the most frustrating disconnects between brilliant set-up and non-sequitur resolution this side of "The Lie of the Land" or "Kerblam". all three of those episodes are like negative "narrative substitution" -- they take away the story we thought we were telling to substitute a worse one.

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CJM123 6 months, 3 weeks ago

➖ is "Flatline". Took me a while to get that one.

I just read 👺 as "masked" as opposed to 💥's open one.

I hope it isn't too much against the spirit of things to openly unpick this in the comments though.

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Kim 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This took me ages as well but - “Flatline”

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Kim 6 months, 3 weeks ago

.... oh, bit late to the party here, heh

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Kit 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"👩🏻‍🎤 don’t expect the 🇬🇧📺 to use things like 🍑 or 🍆 in a 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 show, but from 😁 you wouldn’t 💭 that 🧐🤧😜 have things like 🦄, 🏵, or 🚡."

Well, 🚫 - it's emoticons in 😁, not emoji (until the punchline of 🤑). 1️⃣ can speculate on whether this was simplification to quickly communicate with the broad audience, or just that FC🅱️ is 👴 as ⚽⚽🔮.

Seconding the 👏👏 for this 📄, although Bill's emoji didn't show up in Chrome. ✂️🔜🔥🦊❗

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Daibhid C 6 months, 2 weeks ago

It doesn't work in 🔥🦊 either, or at least not for me. I get 👩🏾‍[ ], since it doesn't recognise the curly hair modifier for some reason. It also doesn't recognise the red hair modifier so Amy is 👩🏻‍[ ] the first time and 👩🏼‍ [ ] the second.

Weirdly, I can see them properly if I paste them into 🐦.

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Matthew Parsons 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The last two emojis in that Web Planet bit are the whole reason I read this blog. Bravo.

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Daibhid C 6 months, 3 weeks ago

🦇💩, but in a 👍 way.

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Daibhid C 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The 📄, that is, not the 📺, in case that wasn't clear. My reaction to the 📺 was somewhere between 😐 and😕with occasional 🙂.

As far as 😕 goes: My main ❓❓ at the time were "If the 🤖 think 😪 is ☣, how did the 👩‍👩‍👧‍👦 have enough time to set up the 👵 ⚰️ Interactive Experience before they were 💀?" and "How were people whose 🌎 was 💀 never 😭 before?" (And "How did the 👩‍🔬 who programmed the 🤖 not 💭 of this?", but if you're going to complain that a 👩‍⚕️❓ story relies on 👨‍🔬 not 💭 things through, you'll be there all 📆.)

It was one of those 📺 I kind of liked, but despite the actual story, not because of it -- the 👨‍⚕️and Bill were 👍, and I 😍 the 🏙. And I liked the way it ended with them arriving at the ❄🎪, like it's the Hartnell era and every 📺 ➡️ into the next.

(Also, it says the 👩‍⚕️ is a 👮. 🙄.)

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Lovecraft In Brooklyn 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I clicked over to this just as Janelle Monae sang ‘emoji’, which is a bit creepy. I can’t really understand this because I don’t use emojis.

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Przemek 6 months, 1 week ago

Bravo. I'd use the "clap" emoji, but I don't know how to use emojis on this blog (or even if I can do that at all).

This essay made me feel quite old as I realized I still call emojis "emoticons" and that I barely use them for anything other than conveying mood or sarcasm. It would've never occured to me to use the food emojis to indicate what I'm having for dinner... In fact, I don't think I've used a food emoji in my entire life. Huh. On the other hand, I understood all but 3 emojis in this essay, so maybe I'm more weird than old?

The part about imagining new parts of language being an almost impossible task is very interesting to me. There's a Polish SF writer, Jacek Dukaj (sadly mostly unavailable in English), who often explores the limits of language in his works, pushing its boundries to see what new concepts and meanings would emerge. In one book, he invented a new grammatical gender for Polish language to be used when talking about (sci-fi) people who are genderless or who have a gender that cannot be described with our current vocabulary. In another book, Dukaj introduced a character who believes he doesn't actually exist and so although the character narrates the book in first person, he does it in a grammaticaly unnatural way that makes sentences like "I read the book" convey the meaning of "The book has been read". Dukaj also wrote a story where invaders from another dimension are so alien that they break the very logic of the world, and with it, the language: as the characters get closer to the invaders, the language of the story gradually becomes more and more broken until barely any meaning remains. Sorry for rambling about books most of you can't read, I just find such explorations of language deeply fascinating. Having read things like Dukaj's works or this essay, "Smile" looks even more laughable in its use of emojis. I wonder what Dukaj would've done with a story brief like that...

As for "Smile" itself, I never really noticed how this episode's (idiotic) critique of emojis is gendered - thank you for pointing that out. And in the light of that gendered critique it's very telling that F.C.-B. decided to compare the Doctor to a policeman. A young black woman reacts to emojibots with excitement, but thankfully the old white cop is there to pass judgement on "vacuous teens". And then he tells her to pretend to smile even though she's afraid because otherwise she might provoke the bots to attack and hurt her. None of this is intended, of course, but equally F.C-B. never stopped to think about the implications and subtext of his ideas.

(Also, emojibots can't distinguish between a real smile and a clearly fake one? Really?).

Other than that, I've found this episode quite boring. Some have compared its slower pace to the more "exploratory" mode of DW storytelling from the Hartnell era, but for me it simply doesn't work because if you want to focus on exploring a world, first make sure you've created a world that's actually interesting to explore.

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Riya Koli 6 months, 1 week ago

I am first time visiting your blog and this is so funny.

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