Permanence, negligence, IDK

CW: the generic state of world politics, violence, a degree of pessimism.

This is gonna be kind of vague but I thought was an interesting way to think about some of some of the stuff I mentioned in my post about the way people think about unicode emoji consistency.

Something I didn’t think about so pointedly until now – how Unicode emoji can implicitly reinforce certain ideas of the permanence of certain social orders, certain states of being and certain institutions.

This isn’t a particular argument per se or particularly new or enlightening. It’s mainly an arrangement of thoughts I feel are good enough to at least publish (and are perhaps worthwhile publishing).



Unicode’s encoding system is one where every encoding is meant to be permanent for all time – if that’s the same for emoji, you can look at it a certain way and might think that Unicode is promoting a sort of permanence of many of our history’s worst impulses (as they have promoted themselves – as permanent, natural and necessary), passed down and encouraged to us through social coercion and violence – a certain idea of essentialism about men and women and their supposed separation, of a world of police, of capitalism, and so on. Unicode sees that as the way things are clearly, in some way to include them, but what does that say then about Unicode, or the people making these emoji?

These violent ideologies that have presented themselves as essential, permanent and necessary are becoming increasingly challenged both from outside, and from within as they are tearing themselves apart, and the result is increasingly being counted in bodies.



I don’t think Unicode necessarily believes these things are permanent, I’m not saying Unicode advocates for violence, it’s just that I think those who have political or cultural power at this moment in time that are – whether intentionally or unintentionally – promoting the status quo are at the very least being dangerously negligent. (Also let’s not forget the whole situation with Silicon Valley and tech companies at large what so many of them – especially some of the biggest – are doing to our rights, our labour, our social security and our environment.)

I’ve hit on this before – it’s one of the main reasons this project exists – but not really contextualised it with regards the ongoing current global political and social catastrophes.



I feel like as this keeps happening and the future seems increasingly littered with bodies, I need to think about if this project can do more (somehow???) to address this. I’m often thinking about this so IDK if that might be overanalysing. I don’t really have the power to do much, but I keep wanting to be thoughtful as this project goes forward.