Our long national nightmare may soon be over: Starting next year, there may finally be an emoji for whiskey drinkers. The Unicode Consortium, which standardizes characters and emojis across operating systems, announced this week that this glass of whiskey on the rocks is among the list of 67 emojis being considered for release in June 2016. The final decision on which emoji will be added to Unicode 9.0 will be made at the Unicode Technical Committee in May 2016.
Unicode says it selected the new options based on several factors, including popular requests from online communities, distinctiveness of the proposed characters and the need to fill gaps in the existing set of emoji – for instance, the ones devoted to drink. Devotees of wine, beer and cocktails have had emojis for their particular poisons for ages. What an outrage! How anyone has been able to communicate anything about whiskey or bourbon up to this point is beyond me.
Wait: Where is that darned sarcasm font?
In case it’s not clear, I hate emojis, and before them, I hated “emoticons.” I hate the very word “emoticon.” As a writer and lover of language, I dislike anything that encourages people to spend even less time figuring out how to express themselves in writing. Yes, I text, but I’m one of those annoying old-school (or maybe just “old”) people who refuse to employ shortcuts such as “gr8,” and who really can’t understand why a two-letter word like OK is just too long to type out. K?
Furthermore, if the whole Internet has become one big “I like you; do you like me? Yes/No (check one)” note, and it has, emojis are the smiley faces/flowers that those certain girls (you know who you are) use to dot their i’s.
I’m generalizing here, but I would wager that those girls don’t need a whiskey emoji, because they don’t drink whiskey. They drink cute drinks like Cosmos, or white wine. Emojis are cute. Whiskey is not “cute.” Whiskey is not “fun and flirty.” Whiskey is bold and brash and warm and wonderful. I don’t want my drink of choice reduced to a cartoon – much less a cartoon with two ice cubes in the glass. What about those of us who drink our whiskey neat? What are we to do?
Of course, I know I’m in the minority. Earlier this year, emoji was named the UK’s fastest growing language, according to The Telegraph of London. Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University was quoted as saying that the collection of symbols is evolving faster than ancient languages such as hieroglyphics. There are now more than 1,000 to choose from. According to a Bangor University report, 72 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed said they found it easier to put their feelings across using emoji than with words. (See?)
And apparently, there are whiskey drinkers who want their own damned emoji.
Almost 20,000 people have expressed their support for one on a page created by Ballentine’s blended Scotch whisky. While there are 13 moon emoji, three types of cable cars and images of beer mugs, red wine and cocktails, Ballentine’s notes, there is “no icon that says, ‘whisky is my drink.’ Let’s show the emoji gods we want one.”
Hmmmm. But you know what? As a bourbon drinker, I think there already is an emoji for blended Scotch whisky: