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« What AM I Trying to Say? or, Henry James DID Do It, So Why Can't I? | Main | Timothy Burke Beat Me to that Punch »

Friday, 20 July 2007

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Rich Puchalsky

I think that these are the wrong emoticons, though. Smiley faces don't indicates extra emphasis. The right emoticons should be something like :-0 and 8~0 for four and five underlines, perhaps.

Ray Davis

What Rich said. 8O !! Emily Dickinson don't need NO emoticons.

I used to think that the greatest alternate history emoticon would be:

I hate all kings and the thrones that they sit on
From the hector of France to the cully of Britain. :)

After considering the tendency of email to veer toward speech, now I incline toward:

But people just don't do such things. :)

Or maybe:

And I pray solemnly that the slayer, whoever he is, whether he alone is guilty or he has partners, may, in the horrible way he deserves, wear out his unblest life. And for myself I pray that if he should, with my knowledge, become a resident of my house, I may suffer the same things which I have just called down on others. :)
Ray Davis

By the way, I remember writing some letters by hand, and underlining is an easy, swift, and natural gesture which, alas, has no keyboard equivalent.

(For scholarly purposes I should scan that most excellent postcard from the most eloquent Martha Soukup which read something like, as I recall,

DON'T GAMBLE WITH LIFE!!

with an assortment of underlines and text-sizes not reproducible in this comment box according to the preview.)

SEK

Damn it, Ray, you're a NATIONAL TREASURE.

That said, I don't think there's much a difference between "natural [handwritten] gestures" and "keyboard equivalents," esp. not among those of us who type 120 wpm. What I mean is, yes, I think there's a relation between gestural ease and expression, I just don't see the typed equivalent as being any more onerous than the handwritten. I can italicize in HTML in a fraction of the time it'd take me to underline something by hand; so if you're correct, I think you'd need to take into account the damn-near-infinite hours most of us have spent hands-to-keyboard, as I think it nullifies swift naturality of pen-to-pad.

Sisyphus

My god, you can make those little i-with-bracket-things more quickly than a quick stab across the page? 120 wpm?

You miss, of course, the emotional satisfaction of working out one's own anger and frustration in lining through the paper so hard it cuts. Natural, artificial --- typing, handwriting. Maybe you're a cyborg.

...(muses to self) that would explain so much, wouldn't it? so much...

bitchphd

Basically what you're saying is that ED was an incredibly melodramatic emo teenager.

Great.

Rich Puchalsky

"Maybe you're a cyborg."

I once wrote a poem in which Scott figured as a cyborg.

SEK

Maybe you're a cyborg...(muses to self) that would explain so much, wouldn't it? so much...

Like what, eh? My uncanny ability to write a dissertation in five years? Typing speed's irrelevant when you ain't got anything of importance to say.

That said, it's interesting how the act of typing mediates our emotional interface with words. You're correct that there's no stabbing-of-pages when typing -- there is, however, a figural stabbing, such that we're always at one remove from our emotional outbursts in type. You'd think this would alter for the better the quality of written interaction, but alas, we're no more temperate now -- perhaps even less so -- than in the halcyon days of the handwritten word.

Basically what you're saying is that ED was an incredibly melodramatic emo teenager.

Here and that Henry James fool, yes, most certainly.

Rich, how you manage to remember things you wrote last year amazes me; I can hardly remember things I wrote last week -- I sit there, shocked and embarrassed, every time I edit.

eb

These last couple of posts are reminding me that I've been meaning to read this book for quite a while. A quick glance suggests there's nothing in there about underlining, though.

Rich Puchalsky

"Rich, how you manage to remember things you wrote last year amazes me; I can hardly remember things I wrote last week -- I sit there, shocked and embarrassed, every time I edit."

One's own bad poetry is the best mnemonic. Good poetry is supposed to achieve its effects without the use of purely personal associations that other people won't get. Bad poetry accumulates lines that spark some strong association in the mind of the writer, even though they don't work for anyone else.

In the case of this particular poem, it's all about scorning one's youth / past, which is something that you more or less continually do (as above, where you scorn what you wrote last week, and hardly remember it, as if you've just turned up your junior high school diary or something). Since the poem is about nostalgia, of course it re-presents itself. (Not that I'd remember where it is or anything. But Google on acephalous cyborg youth turns it up as the first hit.)

Loki

This is nice. I'll have to use this system when I turn in my next report to my supervisor. And I agree that the type of emoticon used should definitely be situation-specific (in a poem about death, I might use the frowny face).

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