The New York Times ran an opinion piece yesterday that serves as a self-parody of academia. The opinion piece, entitled Emoji Feminism, is written by a female assistant professor of English who wrote the following to describe her email to another friend who was granted tenure:
I AM SO EXCITEDDDDDDD, I wrote, and as with any message of sincere and unparalleled sentiment, I thought to include emojis: the party hat, the airborne confetti, the two tumblers of light beer clinking. I sent these enthusiastically. Then I sent them again.
YOU DID IT! I wrote, following up with a unicorn. My friend was a rare and beautiful beast, yes — bounding over the mountainsides of academia.
But then she began thinking, as professors tend to, about the deeper meaning of her message. She did not wonder why an assistant professor of English, and a published author, thought it appropriate to send a message in all caps, or that she needed exclamation points or emojis to express herself. Instead, she wrestled with the deeper, meaningful issues: “Why a unicorn?” Why did she feel the need to include a unicorn emoji?
Ms. Butcher’s column then goes on to bemoan the lack of emojis of female professionals such as doctors or lawyers, and jumped to the conclusion that it is due to pure sexism. I do not know if Ms. Butcher considered that the lack of emojis relating to female professionals is because no one expects intelligent females, or males for that matter, to use emojis. So emojis tend to be geared toward the most vapid of users, not female brain surgeons or nobel laureates. Regardless, the piece drips with unintentional comedy with an assistant professor of English naval-gazing about needing to decorate her poorly-written email with appropriate emojis.
And what does this piece say about the editorial board of the New York Times? The last time I checked, both parties are in the midst of a contested Presidential primary, the Middle East is embroiled in turmoil, the European Community is addressing a humanitarian crisis and facing the defection of Britain, and there are probably a few other things that . I suspect that there are hundreds of intelligent people with interesting opinions that would be willing and able to publish a thought-provoking piece in the New York Times.
As they say, read the whole thing (for a good laugh).