Posted on | June 26, 2012 | 9 Comments
Enter?—?ambiguously?—?Twitter. The strict 140-character limit (shorter if you want retweets), established at the length of a text message, has defined the service since its launch in 2006. The tweet is a literary form of Oulipian arbitrariness, and the straitjacket of the form has determined the schizophrenia of the content. A tweet is so short that you can get right to the point?—?but so short, also, that why should it have one? Twitter’s formal properties bend, simultaneously, in opposite directions: toward the essential but also the superfluous, the concise but also the verbose.
There’s not much point in deploring the over-tweeters of the under-important. Just unfollow them. (Except, of course, where the elaborate social politics of Twitter forbid unfollowing.) But two-faced Twitter has also brought about, in its opposite aspect, the very last thing to have been expected from the internet: a renovation of the epigram or aphorism, a revaluation of the literary virtues of terseness and impersonality.
- Is a tarted up/down variation on the theme of IRC.
- Is just a means to an end: communication. Bemoaning the constraints of the form is like whining about the rules of the sonnet.
- Has already been used for stories and books.
In other words, N+1 has no substantial complaint that I can find. This is all pure stylistic whinging. Of the sort you engage in when you’re, you know, getting thrashed in the hash tag games. If N+1 could wield a tweet with the virtuosity of the Iowahawk, would they carry on like this? Doubt it.
The Beckett reference in the N+1 post does remind me that I need to tout my own little Amazon effort:
Stacy and I get our Estragon and Vladimir on for two scenes mocking the Obama Administration in “Waiting for O-Dough”, plus one bonus scene stuck into “Czar d-Oz”. With the opening “OediPOTUS Wrecks” and the closing creepy CTHULHU story, S.A.L.V.E. is one answer to the question: What sort of debris will the fallout from the higher education bubble burst look like?
At least one reader isn’t feeling ripped off:
— Noctis Lucis Caelum (@mtranquilnight) June 26, 2012
S.A.L.V.E. is also available in dead tree format for just a few pennies more.