November 6, 2009

Not Laughing Out Loud

When we moved to Blogger, this post did not come with, so I thought I should post it again. The other day, a former boyfriend tried to lol me and given that he knows how I feel about it, I equated it with calling me a bad name. I asked if this was his intention and he just responded with lots of exclamation points. Joker. Here's the post:

I have said it before. I will say it again. I hate lol. When I read lol, it doesn't make me think of laughing out loud. The symmetry of the letters is disturbing. It looks like an equation, or like the absolute value of zero. Also, the sounds of the letters don't flow. Lol sounds slow. It makes me think of lolling about, lallygagging, or logarithms--nothing funny about those. If there must be an alternative, "Ha!" is great, and contains just as few characters. It sounds sharp, like a chuckle. Lol sounds insincere. I don't buy it.

But why do we need so many acronyms and emoticons? So we don't have body language over email, so what? We didn't have body language when we used to write letters, either. What's changed? Why pretend like we do now? Why emote? Why not trust that our language will convey our meaning? There is the argument, which has been around since the letter, that one never knows in what tone a letter/email will be read. But this is true of face to face conversation as well. Despite the extra ingredient of body language, people misunderstand each other every day. It's the same with art. You can't control interpretation of it once you put it out there. An artist knows this. Yet believes enough it it's worthwhile-ness to put it out there. Without explanation. Without apology. Without emoticons next to it.

Why is it we don't trust language anymore? Or is that we don't understand it well enough to be able to use it? On Myspace blogs you can select what mood you are in while writing your blog. Give me a break. You don't see novelists writing their mood at the beginning of each chapter. It is part of the art of writing to be able to convey a mood by choosing the correct arrangement of words. Novelists also don't use capital letters to convey shouting. Nor do they use an excess of exclamation points. (I'll save this rant for another day.)

Let's not forget that even in an email, writing is not conversation. It is writing. It is communication. In fact, it should be easier to convey your feelings in an email, because you are not bound by the "show don't tell" rule. In fact, telling is required for effective communication. Let's see, can you guess how I'm feeling?

I can't wait to see you.
Where the hell are you? I'm worried.
I can't tell you how relieved I am.
I'm laughing so hard I just drooled ice cream sandwich on my keyboard.
I'm beginning to wonder if anyone cares.
Fool! You will regret this.

I'm pretty sure my meaning was clear in all of the above. And I accomplished it all with no emoticons, acronyms, and only one (correctly used) exclamation point.

No comments:

Post a Comment