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Die, smiley!

God, I hate graphical smileys. Not ASCII emoticons; those are cool. In fact, that’s partly why I hate graphical smileys: they took a rich and interesting form of post-modern folk art and crassified it.

Mostly, though, I hate them because they’re so fucking ugly and stupid. This little bastard has got to be my #1 graphical smiley hate object: icon_lol.gif The BBCode LOL smiley. Look at the way its upper lip is nickering up and down. Who does that with their front lip when they laugh? Horses! Who else? Giraffes. Who else? NOBODY! Jesus, where did this person go do art school, a dude ranch? You can’t even do that with your upper lip if you try. Go on. Try. Seriously. I’m not writing another word until you do.

Here’s a good one: icon_mad.gif. It means “I woke up this morning Chinese. And grumpy.” Well, at least that one may come in handy some day.

Then there’s: icon_eek.gif I am so constipated. And: icon_razz.gif Look! My mouth is like a red, red rose. And: icon_cool.gif I’m wearing a tiny bra on my face, and that makes me strangely happy.

I was horrified when I realized I had graphical smilies. Yes. Right here at S. Weasel. I made a happy little winky-smiley in my own comment section, and up popped a horrible squinty moonfaced yellow hobgoblin. Huh. They came in a little folder with the rest of the WordPress software. I did not know.

My first thought was to biff the whole directory and go back to clean, pure ASCII emoticons. And then I had a second, more weasely, thought. In short, weasels. I would replace the lot with spritely, handsome weasels. Smiling weasels. Frowning weasels. Jaunty weasels thrusting their pink tongues in good natured ribaldry.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I had to design the occasional icon back in the days when you got 16 colors and 16 pixels square. It was an asshole of a job. I am not a minimalist. But I figured I’d start with the basics — frowny, smiley, winky and the tongue (sounds like a Hannah Barbera cartoon starring three crime fighting teenage pop musicians and a rogue body part). It went something like…this:

Only frowny really looks like a weasel, because frowny is the only face weasels got. The others look like animatronic gophers or something. No matter. By the time it was squoze down to the standard 15×15 smiley size, I knew they wouldn’t look like anything at all. And they didn’t. At that size, I couldn’t tell one from another.

For a moment, this pleased me. I imagined replacing all the icons with Frowny Weasel, so no matter what you tried to emote, out popped that cranky little puss. But then I realized I would never know what you, my minions, were trying to tell me. Are you happy? Are you sad? Do you have a rogue body part you would like me to examine? I must know these things.

So I gave myself another ten pixels. A 25 pixel smiley is going to blow out the line spacing (I almost said “the leading”; god I’m old). But, hey, it’s not like I’m in some kind of design contest or anything, is it?

So here they are: πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰ πŸ™ πŸ˜› πŸ˜† I added a LOL, so that peals of merry laughter can ring throughout Castle Mustelid. You still can’t really tell what’s what, but I drawed them and I can. Invoke them with smilies.gif. Any other emoticon will get you a busted graphic icon BECAUSE I KILLED THEM.

Have fun and drive safely.

April 19, 2007 — 4:38 pm
Comments: 35