‘Watchmen’ and the connotation of 🙂

Aspen English
1 min readOct 14, 2022

ENGL 4110 “Commonplace Book” Entry 5

If you have ever used Google Suite, Slack or even Facebook Messenger to send a message to a friend or a coworker, you may have been personally victimized by the auto-emoji feature.

I feel your pain.

Basically, what happens is that you’ll be typing your little message like normal, and you might type “:)” to show your friendly tone. But those platforms will take that colon and parentheses and turn it into the absolute atrocity that is the passive-aggressive “🙂.”

Alan Moore’s Watchmen illustrates perfectly how the smiley face does not, by definition, portray happiness or any other positive emotion. In the first scene of the comic, when Edward Blake is assaulted and thrown through his own window, a drop of his blood splatters across his smiley-face badge.

The connotation is almost painstakingly clear. Just like the passive aggressive emoji, 🙂, the symbol serves as a juxtaposition between the Comedian’s happy exterior and inner darkness.

So, next time you go to send a chat on one of the aforementioned platforms…

Don’t type “:).”



Aspen English

I‘m just a college student who really likes to write.