This image is not here yet.

you are what you type
by Morbus

One day, in the little town of Disobeyville, Morbus was wandering around the proverbial corridors of the internet trying to think about something to write about. Not that this is hard. He has a bunch of articles waiting to be written, but nothing struck him... he wasn't in the mood for them. And he had this great idea to do a piece on the million dollar commercials from the Super Bowl, but hell, if you happened to notice, all the commercials sucked. And don't ask me about the game... I didn't watch it.

So, I decided to go onto one of those stupid internet pagers (happened to be the AOL one this time) and see who was on. A friend and I got talking. And thus the article is born.

You are what you type. What a lovable phrase. With more and more people coming on to the internet nowadays, the typing is nonstop, the chatrooms are never empty (well, the popular or the sex ones) and people have more to say than ever. Or type.

You see, we have evolved this whole new language around the art of typing. People in the "know" can speak in TLA's all they want. I hate TLA's. I hate when people "lol" or "rotflmao". Because they aren't. We have become needless extensions of what we type. Half the time, when I type [g], I AM NOT GRINNING. Nope, just sitting there, maybe drinking some coffee, more than likely slurping on some Store 24 soda. I don't need to grin anymore. Sure, it may use more muscles (or less, I don't really remember) than frowning, but why use any muscles when I only need to touch three keys?

And come now, how can you type if you're rolling on the floor?

We have this whole new language literally being borne right beneath our fingers. The Language of Type. We are a lot more powerful with words then we are with speech, because with type we need not worry about looking into the other person's eyes, or stuttering. If I start typing "I love you" to someone, but think that is a little forward, I don't have to worry about embarrassing moments. I can just hit that stupid delete key and make it "I am attracted to you".

I am attracted to you. I am attracted to you. Hmm. So many different ways to interpret that. It says a lot. And it doesn't commit you to ANYTHING. You can always "j/k" without getting red in the face or butterflies in your stomach. There are also subtle differences amongst text. Strangely "lol" is different from "LOL". One seems a lot more funnier because the text seems more intimidating, more in your face. And the whole time, you might have chuckled just a tiny bit.

How many times has someone sent you a string of words, and it just made you sat there, reading it over and over again, trying to find some hidden meaning in it? It is like a letter you receive in your mail that tells you to meet this girl you have been lusting over. Meet her? For what? Are we going out? Yes! Wait, what if she is going to tell me...? The mind runs rampant, and the same happens online. Of course, if things get too hot or too confusing, you can always disconnect and blame it on your stupid ISP. You can't do that in real life.

Are we losing responsibility? Are we throwing our words around with no restriction? Sure, there have been studies that show it is a lot easier to type your thoughts and your feelings than to say them, but the studies never show if this is a good thing. Need to get some stress off? Go to an "All-Black" room and start yelling slurs. Fight some people with words, and then logoff. Go to sleep happy. It's just plain sick. With this loss of identity on the net, we have lost our sense of caution.

And what the hell is up with those smileys? Where do we learn the subtle differences between " ;) " or " ;P "? Is there some social faux pas if I " ;) " where I should " :) "? Are we really smiling or winking our eyes? And how many times do we really do that in life anyways? I never wink at anyone, or stick my tongue out, or wear a goatee, wink, and have a big ass Dr. Seuss hat on.

The tendency in art is toward reduction (which doesn't really hold water, since now we went from silent films to "talkies", but anyways) so is this the next step in our devolution? I have bitched long and hard about being faceless entities on the net... why should we have a face if we no longer need it? We don't laugh when we type it, we don't frown when someone swears in a "no swearing" room. But our words and our symbols do.

The next logical step is a pack of playing cards. But instead of your regular card faces, we put these symbols on them, you know " [g] ", " :) ", " ;) " and so on. When people think what you said is funny, they hand you a card with the little "grin" symbol on it. Hell, if its really funny, you can whip out that "lol" card (with the CAPS version on the other side, in case it was hilariously funny). And if you're in a bad mood but don't feel like frowning, you can just tape the " :( " onto your face.

It will be all very simple... we'll live in a society where mere glances speak emotions and little cards will be your voice. The Ellen Jamesians* would be proud.

*Anyone ever read "The Life According to Garp?" In a nutshell, Ellen James gets raped and her tongue cut out so that she can't identify the criminal. In a sort of protest/support of this travesty, hundreds of other women willingly cut out their tongue and speak by handing out little cards that say "Hi! I am an Ellen Jamesian."

send us an email


OH! OH! OH!! My favorite...k... and I love this...the whole thing about people in chat using chatisms...oh my...does the phrase "It's the thought that counts!" mean anything to you?? Do I really have to say this, cuz I'm kinda surprised if I do. EVERYONE does this.... says they're "[S]" or "LOL" or whatever when really they're not, but there's a very good reason behind this! In a world of only letters strung together to form sentances (something some chatters can't even do), the message you're trying to convey is very important, and VERY difficult to convey properly. It's so hard to tell what the intentions are behind people's words in RL, so just think about how much harder it is when you don't have body language or tone-of-voice to help you judge?? If someone slips an "LOL" in there somewhere, then obviously they're trying to let you know that what they're saying isn't meant to be taken too seriously! Chatisms are used to help set the tone...that's it... that's my whole thingy in one sentance. God, I hate it when I do that. (although...personally, when I type "[S]" or "LOL" I really *am* smiling or laughing.... people don't usually belive that cuz I do it so darn much....they always say "You sure do smile a lot!" but people say that in RL too.. .I can't help it..I'm uhmm kind of an "UP" person...I actually have smiled and laughed a lot while writing this, I just didn't type it in every time...)


["rotflmao"] i have never seen this one before. this in and of itself is not my problem. what eeks me is that i looked at it and immediately, without any straining of the brain muscle, thought "rolling on the floor laughing my ass off" up until now, i never thought of myself as an online geek, but the fact that i was able to instantly translate that shit has forever scarred me. thanks for opening my eyes [slitting rists] just kidding.

btw (hahahah) great zine, ive been here since number one, keep it coming.

Ouch, that hurts. But we all kinda get into that position. It's like when you hear a new phrase in a language you just picked up. Like Spanish. You hear someone say "quien corta el queso" and you start putting words together. Ok... hmm, "who... cut... the..." and even if you don't know the last word, you know the phrase, so you're all set. It's the devil.


sometimes, when my girlfriend gets on.. and says real nice things to me.. I get this HUGE goofy grin on my face and i am like.. speechless.. so all i can say is: ":)"..however i don't think i've ever had to use the rotflmao. and as you saidi've never winked at someone, but i remember this guy that winked at me once in a night club and i like.. was so increadibly disgusted. that's like a cheesy after school special..."marla winked at me.. I think she'd like to go steady" and all that bullcrap.


So I always used elipses (.....) and I have no idea why. I wonder what they are technically suposed to mean? besides that I use ;-) or ;) to imply sarcasm, just incase my audience is unsure of my intent, or just plain stupid. I never actually thought about what i was typing though, I just did it. Couldit be that digital medium is so much more instantaneous than other forms of communication that it leads to people not really thinking about what they are typing.... adn they use lol and ROTFLMAO as a kind of pause?


It was really really true..I always do that..infact I have to do that to keep the person continue talking to me.. I use these symbols, just to keep the other person alive.. they doesnt represent what I exactly go through on this side of the computer.

anyways, it was a good little thought over "new symbols of communication".

next issue >>
<< last issue

plain text format

Devil Shat is published by Disobey & is protected under all copyright laws.
Devil Shat Nineteen was released on 01/29/98. Last updated: 06/23/98.