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How I Became An Emoji Activist

May 28, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Tickets Starting at: $10

Question: Who really thinks deeply about emoji?
Answer: Jennifer 8. Lee

On Tuesday, May 28, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at The House of the Seven Gables, Jennifer 8. Lee will have you, too, thinking deeply about emoji. And it will be both fun and enlightening. Lee’s upbeat presentation is part of the Seven Lectures for Seven Gables lecture series. She will conduct a witty and thought-provoking discussion on how this new digital linguistic media is shaping the world around us, as well as the minds of generations to come.

Jennifer 8. Lee, a bestselling author and former New York Times journalist, is one of the founders of Emojination. This small, international group of activists, with the motto “Emoji for the people, by the people,” aims to make the emoji approval process inclusive and representative.

Lee will also share her story about how her research on American Chinese food for her bestselling book, “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,” turned into a passion for approval for the dumpling emoji and beyond.

The lecture will be held in The Gables’ Visitor Center, 115 Derby Street, Salem. Members are admitted to the lecture free of charge and general admission is $10. There is some parking at The Gables. To reserve a spot for this event, please click here; email jarrison@7gables.org; or call 978-306-7003.

Emoji go beyond ubiquitous. In two decades they have embedded themselves in our digital lexicon. According to Lee’s research, 92 percent of all people who post online use emoji and nearly 50 percent of Instagram posts contain emoji. The “face with tears of joy” emoji was the 2015 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year. These tiny emotive characters have impacted communication in a major way. At first emoji were meant to speed text messaging. But they evolved, representing life as we know it.

After the lecture, Lee will sign copies of her book, “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,” in the Museum Store. Lee made use of her reporter’s skills to investigate the popularity of Chinese food in America. She discovered that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” is for fans of the cuisine, foodies and the perpetually curious. Who is General Tso and why are we eating his chicken? Why do Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas? And who invented the fortune cookie? Through a mix of in-depth research and entertaining personal anecdotes Lee exposes a fascinating slice of American culture.

This is the third lecture in the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables Series. The 2019 exhibition, “Pop! Goes The Gables” explores how Hawthorne’s novel and The Gables’ 1668 mansion have influenced pop culture over the centuries. This year’s lecture series complements the many themes explored in the exhibition.


How I Became an Emoji Activist (And You Can, Too!)


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May 28, 2019
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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The House of the Seven Gables
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The House of The Seven Gables
115 Derby St.
Salem, MA United States
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