Comment in a leading German newspaper regarding the way UTC and Apple handle Emoji as an attack on Free Speech

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Sat Sep 3 11:30:38 CDT 2016

On Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09:25:05 -0700, Doug Ewell wrote:

>> […]
> So I took another look and saw that:
> (1) U+1F946 RIFLE has the following cross-reference in NamesList.txt:
> = marksmanship, shooting, hunting
> which does not include any mention of squirt guns or water pistols, or
> generally bowdlerizing the image or changing the intent of this code
> point;
> (2) Section 22.9 "Miscellaneous Symbols" in TUS 9.0 does not make any
> mention of modifying the RIFLE glyph, or symbol glyphs in general, so as
> to alter their meaning;
> (3) the code chart at
> clearly shows a rifle, and not any other type of gun or non-gun. 
> I can imagine people with time on their hands criticizing Apple for
> changing the glyph, but how did the Unicode Consortium itself get
> dragged into this? What obvious thing am I missing?

Donʼt mind. Thatʼs just another example of “Unicode bashing” that 
is sometimes found in European papers since the beginning of the 
public existence of the Standard. That is typically issued by people 
who didnʼt learn much about the topic theyʼre writing on (well, like 
I didnʼt when I started mailing here…). The underlying spirit is IMHO 
found also in the first ISO 10646 chief editorʼs attitude when he 
enforced bad (wrong, inconsistent or useless) character names just 
to make for Europeʼs superiority (forgetting BTW that “CARON” was 
originally US-American internal use standardese).

Now that Christoph Päper found out [1] that the FAZ authors most probably 
*did* read the BuzzFeed article I found with Bing and posted on this 
Mailing List [2], the issue is complicated in that there is obviously 
some dishonest handling of core information by the FAZ authors, except 
in the case that they were unable to understand the difference between 
a character encoding refusal and an emoji property value change, or—as 
of the PISTOL emoji—the difference between a character and a glyph.

Apple could have made use of the possibility to shift the meaning of an 
emoji—a not uncommon phenomenon, according to Leonardo Boikoʼs last 
findings [3]. Actually they didnʼt have much choice, being urged to hide
from the public area as far as possible the meaning of a fire weapon. 
The really troublesome thing is that German newspaper journalists are 
eager to promote guns, rifles and other pistols for interpersonal 
messaging. As I already said, much of the latter is performed by children. 
Thatʼs the biggest reason why I find it OK that no effective pistols be 
provided in image. It seems that this FAZ article was written by some 
unmarried, unresponsive beginners.

However, since they talk of the RIFLE character as if it didnʼt exist in 
Unicode (and not only were “missing” amidst the iOS emoji), itʼs hard 
for me to make any sense except by considering those utterings as a kind 
of neonazi propaganda junk (despite of the renown of the newspaper itself)
due most probably to the fact that the responsible chief editor was on 

So as I said: Donʼt mind.



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