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Be afraid, be very afraid: Microsoft’s Clippy is making a comeback

The widely detested Microsoft mascot has made its much-feared return, though this time at least it won’t interrupt you using Word.

Nobody likes a know-it-all and that’s why absolutely nobody liked Clippy, the animated paperclip that would butt into your business  every time you booted up Microsoft Word.

We had contentedly thought we’d seen the back of it in the early noughties, but like a turd that just won’t flush, he’s popped back up to the surface and is stinking the place out once again.

The reintroduction comes courtesy of a social media campaign which requested 20,000 likes for the change to be made; at the time of writing, Clippy had attracted 172,000 likes from Microsoft-loving masochists, easily clearing the bar for its second wind. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

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Mirroring Milhouse’s nostalgia for Alf (“Remember Clippy? Well he’s back, in emoji form!”) Microsoft has resurrected the reviled assistant in Microsoft 365. Thankfully relieved of any actual duties, it will only be entrusted to take the role of the standard paperclip emoji which surely can’t have seen much use anyway, but in reality it’s likely to be cheekily used when you want to trigger suppressed memories of rage amongst your friends and family, as they remember the countless times that this useless upstart blinked gormlessly while Word failed to cooperate with your commands.

Considering that even Microsoft itself used the withdrawal of Clippy from Microsoft XP as a key selling point (see the above video, where the character is inexplicably voiced by Gilbert Gottfried), it just goes to show that rose-tinted nostalgia can rehabilitate the image of anyone or anything.





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