Our Criticisms of the Theory
Upon extensively studying the Semiotic Theory, though we think it is extremely applicable to our daily lives, we do see some room for improvement. We cannot help but question the idea of too much over reading and over analyzing of a sign. The Semiotic Theory tells us that connotation, or the second level of meaning, calls for even more analysis of the literal or obvious meaning of the sign. However, once we do move on to this level, we tend to believe that the new meaning that we perceive is correct.This is the common problem within romantic relationships. If a girl receives a text from a guy that she likes and he does not put any smileys in it, she will start to over think and ask herself if he really likes her. This feeling will only arise because she thinks he may be mad or nonchalant due to the absence of smileys in his text. There is always the possibility of the guy not being used to putting smileys in his texts, or maybe he simply forgot. The girl may then choose to stop texting him because she thinks he is not interested in her.
Another is the fact that the Semiotics Theory gives no authority to any one person. It is as if each interpreter has the power to say how he/she perceives the sign and that answer will always be the correct one for that particular person. This is where many misunderstandings arise that lead to even bigger scandals. Take the recent Ateneo Bonfire for example. The culmination of the entire event is always the ceremonial bonfire, however this year, someone decided to paint the names of the La Salle players onto wooden planks that were included in the fire. For some Ateneans, this was just a fun way to end the basketball season and to celebrate the victory. Many, however, thought that this prank was taking it too far. Some La Salle supporters even went far enough to say that Ateneo is now a cult. Another example would be with the interpretation of the Nazi swastika sign. The Nazis saw the swastika as a symbol of them being the supreme race. Firmly associated with the Nazis and Adolf Hitler, the common idea associated with the swastika is that of hatred and genocide. However, many ignorant people are seen nowadays with swastika patches on their jackets, book bags, or notebooks. They use or wear it simply as a fashion statement as these patches are seen on many articles of clothing in urban outfit stalls and have no ties to white supremacist groups or Nazism whatsoever. If Jewish people were to see them however, it would cause a chaotic uproar. An example would be the scandal caused by Prince Harry when he infamously wore a swastika arm band to a costume party and was highly criticized by the media.
Thus we believe that though the Semiotic Theory is a relatively easy theory to follow and understand, its credibility is in question because of the immense amount of power and authority given to the audience as interpreters. We each have our own ideas and opinions and with so many different angles of perception, values, social, and cultural systems in the world today, this theory risks having many misunderstandings as a result. Also, because some people may over analyze and over interpret, we begin to question if communication is really possible. Does the message successfully get from the sender to the receiver if the receiver is free to interpret and over analyze the message as he/she pleases? Won't the message then be tainted by the interpretations of the receiver, which then results in the receiver not being able to receive the original message.
Critical Semiotics. Scott Simpkins. CSI: Sim2. 1 October 2008.