If you, like any informed citizen, have a Google alert for “emoji,” you are aware of the groundbreaking new additions
to our modern hieroglyphics. If you have a Google alert for “emoji,” you probably also have one for “think piece,” and “millennial,” and possibly “app,” just to stay in the loop. Which is good, because if you are reading millennial-app-think-pieces then you are definitely in the know. Which is to say you’re mad as hell, and I am too.
Let me explain—emoji are delicate, fragile symbols. Without them, we wouldn’t know how to 🙏🙅🌵. So when Unicode comes out with a whole slew of new emojis, there are bound to be some eyebrow-raisers. The taco has already been taken to task for obvious reasons; the hard shell, lettuce, and tomato are all sure-fire signs that we have fallen under Taco Bell’s odious rule. That’s right—our platonic ideal of “taco” is being held hostage by a little yellow keyboard. Does our cultural vocabulary not have the ability to express things like “local” or “authentic” or “food truck” via taco-emoji?
But this criticism doesn’t go far enough. Next to the controversial taco is a hateful yellow pyramid that looks like something out of cheese monger’s nightmare. Is it swiss? Is it some sort of dyed cheddarish monstrosity? Why are there only holes on the left side of the wedge?! After scouring our cheese library I could not find any explanation for what this symbol is supposed to represent. If I were to receive this emoji in a text from fellow intern Johnisha, I wouldn’t know if it meant that our weekly cheese tasting were starting or if the vegan cheese had mutated, gained sentience, and was now taking over the office. So now I’m living my life in fear.
And it doesn’t end there. Are we content to let our champagne emojis violate PDO standards? Do we know where the berries fermented before that little bottle burst? What about this turkey? Is it free-range or caged? Don’t think I’m not offended that the so called “Nerd Face” was developed from my Facebook profile pic.
Let’s start over, emoji makers (whoever you are). Let’s have a food vocabulary that is grass-fed and cruelty-free. Let’s respect cultural authenticity and keep our swiss and our cheddar separate. Let’s see an emoji that better represents our ideal cheese. Maybe start with something simple, like a camembert from the Silvery Moon Creamery or maybe a nice brined cheese. Until then, I will continue to type the word “cheese,” but mostly because I am too lazy to update my phone.