I read an article recently on the recent rise of emoji as a means of human conversation. Emoji, in the event you haven't used them, are those little smiley emotive-doodaddies that we now seem to tack onto most of our net-communication. In the absence of face-to-face cues, we increasingly use those little symbols to help us express ourselves and to indicate that our statements aren't meant in a negative way.
That, and ending every sentence with an exclamation mark! Because we're really happy to be talking with you! And we don't want you to interpret our use of a common period to mark our muttering disinterest in you as a person. We really don't. Really. Really! Honest. ;0)
But emojis, which I use some variant of regularly, represent a strange devolution of language. With the web-fed roaring flow of written words becoming almost unmanageable, we find ourselves falling back into a form of communication that is ancient and early in the development of writing. Emoji are more akin to pictograms or hieroglyphics than modern language.
I learned of an effort recently to raise funds to convert the entire Bible into emoji, a Kickstarter from late last year that failed pretty epically. But why? Whey wouldn't we be interested? I mean, if the Bible can be rendered in Klingon and lolcat and Esperanto, why not emoji?
The answer? Because emoji just can't do it. As symbols, they are...well...too simple. Too clumsy. While they can modify or flavor other language, they bear the weight of a story. Or so I was reasonably certain.
But how to confirm that?
I went to an emoji dictionary, and to Genesis Chapter One, and took a swing at translation. What does that first day of creation look like, rendered entirely in emoji?
It went something like what follows.