By Jessica Zafra

EVERY YEAR the Oxford Dictionaries declare a Word of the Year, and this year it’s . Not “face with tears of joy,” which is the official name of that emoji, or “emoji,” the digital icon used to express emotion in text messages, but the pictograph of a weeping smiley face. is said to be “the word that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.” It won over competitors that included “sharing economy,” “refugee,” and my favorite, “lumbersexual” — one who cultivates the look and manner of dress of the rugged outdoorsy woodsy profession — and presumably other emojis (, you’re so 2005). We don’t know if “pabebe” was on the long list.

That’s right, the Word of the Year isn’t even a word.

For years we in publishing have dreaded the demise of the printed word, and now it’s official. Our devolution from “writers and editors” to “content-providers” is complete. Now that the worst has happened, it’s not so bad. It’s actually made our lives easier. No longer do we have to agonize over the exact turn of phrase to describe someone’s emotional state. Those style dictators Strunk & White have always told us to omit needless words. You can’t get more concise than .

Just as the Paleo Diet preaches a return to the eating habits of hunter-gatherers before evil, evil agriculture, emojis encourage us to revert to the modes of expression of cave painters. Although the bison of Altamira probably didn’t get emotional.

How many generations of students might have been spared the reams of tortuous prose with which Dostoevsky captured his protagonist’s guilt, or the miles of insomnia-curing paragraphs with which Proust described how he went to bed early. Granted, their lives would’ve been drearier and less worth living, but they would’ve had more time for other things, like staring at the wall until it was time for dinner, or drinking themselves to death. Consider the opening sentence of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

But I’m wasting time, as word people always do. We’re in the thick of the Digital Age where the ability to express a thought the millisecond it occurs to you trumps depth, complexity and the boring stuff. On the bright side, and its brethren give me more time to produce the retro, irrelevant longform writing that gives me reason to live. I declare dibs on the word “obso-lit.”