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"Word Genius" bills this as "Obscure Punctuation Marks You Should Start Using."

It's a call to resurrect and reinstate -- supposedly bits of cast lead characters from the printer's type case, except one.

Maybe call this a tour of archaic proto-emojis? You notice I didn't say that first, lest it send you reaching for the delete button.

There's history here, for better or worse. There's always a reason why communication symbology falls from favor. It used to be more complicated. Not instantly disposable digital pop culture that moves on with trendiness as a requirement of with-it-ness. Though a prior version was throwing little pieces of precisely crafted lead into re-melt. Before that, ham-handed chiseling of somebody's cartouche off monumental stone along the Nile. Surely that's when it was most complicated. Moreso than cutting down a tree because your true love's name was carved there with your rival's. 

There's technology -- from the axe, to the delete button. And there's culture -- from relegation to a file you'll never read, to, uhh, the delete button.

Our distorted reality bases 21st century success on conspicuous, compulsive consumerism's disposable cultureless culture.

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Our distorted reality bases 21st century success on conspicuous, compulsive consumerism's disposable cultureless culture, driven by how we can motivate (versus how we are manipulated by) impressions based on impulsive response to symbols. We all "get it" and even accept that it's what produces the share-button path to celebrity, to fame with no substantial basis, the panacea that circumvents struggle, credentials and achievement. We sort-of know it produces a society devoid of thoughtful consideration, intolerant of investing sufficient time for the perspective of a vast body of inducted facts. Thus an inevitability in any era: sum it all up in a symbol.

Hunger for the latest disposable scrap of cultural crap isn't new at all. From breathing lead fumes casting esoteric type characters to absorbing radiation from glowing screens hunting for the latest emoji.

If you ask me, we need an opt-out button, not a delete button. If something in a type case never got used, that wooden compartment was reassigned. Survival of the fittest.

Perhaps the writers told the printers not to use it. Then as now, if reader mail doesn't already bring enough questions about what the hell we meant when we wrote what we did, somebody wants us to complicate life with intentional esoterica that brings an annoyed wtf? Don't tell me you haven't gotten yourself in trouble when someone misinterpreted the intent of your little throwaway emoji.

Back to the "Word Genius" article. So I did know the one they call the "hidera." (If I spelled it the way they do.) Still, I think learning ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics would be more rewarding than any of this emotional shorthand symbology, revived from the type case or impulsively grabbed from the emoji tray.


Perhaps you know some of these old forms of laden punctuation, or want to befuddle your correspondents by employing them.

Larry Wines