I haven’t used Bitmoji since the election, in part because the cute little cartoon seems incongruous with most of the things I’m feeling and writing, and in part because I want, for as long as possible, to shelter my emotionally effusive avatar from the fact that Trump is president. She’s excitable—fuchsia hearts leap out of her eyes when she’s happy. She would not take the news of apocalypse well. I did accidentally open up my Bitmoji keyboard, though, last night, while pawing blearily at my phone in some purple predawn hour. (Bitmoji are the customizable drawings you can download to send short messages over text.) My cartoon representative appeared in her capris and gray scarf, losing her shit just like I was. “I can’t even,” she moaned. “Nooooooo,” she cried. “What happened?” “What the ?!” “I cannot.” “Woe is me.” “No way.” “Brutal.”
I took a closer look at my phone. It wasn’t displaying the menu of negative messages that live under Bitmoji’s frowny-face symbol. Instead, I’d pulled up the default tab, the one in which the app recommends pictograms based on what’s happening in the world.
(On a normal morning, for instance, my avatar likes to pose with a steaming cup of coffee. When the new X-Men movie came out, she dressed up as Magneto. Those were innocent times.)
But in the early hours of Nov. 9, mini-me was despairing over the state of the country. A small number of happy or neutral messages were interspersed with the gloom-and-doom: “Mission Accomplished,” “Happy Day,” “I voted.” But they were few and far between—and I could see in my avatar’s eyes that she didn’t mean it.
An informal office survey this afternoon reveals that all of our Bitmoji continue to freak out, not just mine. Apparently the little guys skew Democratic. So here we are: commiserating with digital projections of ourselves about a sewage monster who wants to blast American society at least 100 years back in time. If technology represents the future, the future rejects Trump, and implores us to come along. I just wish the Bitmoji coalition had turned out at the polls.