When Apple unveiled its first batch of iPhone emojis several years ago, I was incredulous. Using childish cartoons in place of actual words seemed like something only a teenage girl or a middle-aged man who’s “hip with the kids” would do. Then I discovered the revolver emoji, and, just like that, I was converted. Now, at last, I had a convenient way to communicate to my friends and loved ones exactly what I was feeling whenever my life turned sour grapes, as it’s prone to do. Hungover? Bad day at work? Fly unzipped on the subway, again!? Those moments could be summed up quickly with a little yellow face followed by a gun pointing at that face. Boom.
But my days of using the revolver emoji to express the terrible darkness in my soul are numbered. Come this fall, when Apple releases iOS 10, the revolver emoji will be replaced with a far less potent symbol of violence: a neon green water gun.
That’s right. Apple is taking our guns. Given the spike in gun violence reported in the media in recent months, the logic behind this decision is fairly obvious, but it appears to have been influenced by an activist group called #DisarmTheiPhone, which, according to its website, has been campaigning for “Apple to remove the gun emoji and take a stand for stricter gun accessibility in America.” Apple, champion of the people — or at least a certain demographic of people — succumbed, but not entirely.
It’s important to note that, while Apple could have simply deleted the revolver emoji and called it a day, they did not. Instead, they replaced it with a water gun. Yes, I know, you’re probably shaking your head and wondering, “What the HECK am I going to do with a water gun emoji?” (and, also, “Thanks Obama!”) But before you throw your iPhone into the ocean, remember: a water gun, even one that’s neon green, is a symbol for, well, an actual gun. So what we have now is a symbol of a symbol of a gun. Sure, it doesn’t look as “cool” or “dangerous” as its predecessor, but it can still be used in much the same way. For example:
In addition to the water gun, the IOS 10 update will include 99 other brand-spanking-new emojis, which together celebrate American values of tolerance and diversity. According to a press release published on Apple’s website, the “exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options.”
That’s all fine and good, Apple. I’ll make do with the water gun emoji, and I’m sure I can find a way to work the female weightlifter into my vocabulary, but just know this: get rid of the eggplant emoji and I’m switching to the Android.