Apple’s original gun emoji was a creation of grotesque beauty, a Clint Eastwood-worthy six-shooter that somehow glinted and gleamed in iMessage. But after New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) protested that Apple would allow a gun emoji while it liberally banned so many other topics in its own App Store, Apple followed a path first paved by Microsoft, depicting the deadly gun as a toy water gun, instead. (Ironically, Microsoft has since turned its toy gun emoji into a real gun emoji.)
Gun violence hasn’t been cured overnight, but the debate rages on as to whether or not Apple should have censored its own emoji. Nowhere better is the complexity and absurdity of this topic better deconstructed than on this new Daily Show segment hosted by correspondent Roy Wood Jr, recently highlighted by Splitsider.
“[Apple] replaced the gun emoji with a water gun emoji . . . but what’s that gonna do?!?” Wood laments, before he sits down with NYAGV executive director Leah Barrett in a hilarious, maudlin debate on the costs of censorship versus the benefits of curbing ubiquitous portrayals of gun violence in our culture. The best repartee:
Barret: “Symbolism is important . . . Even the Pixar movies, you have Woody with a gun. You have Buzz Lightyear–“
Wood: “Buzz Lightyear has a laser! He is out there lasering motherf*ckers!”
Barret: “Not only motherf*ckers, but every year, 33,000 americans on average are killed by guns.”