The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ain’t Braggin’ If You Can Do It

Posted on | June 26, 2012 | 9 Comments

by Smitty

Via Mataconis and Andrew Sullivan is a Yet Another Post Bemoaning Internet Communication (YAPBIC):

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.


  1. Is a tarted up/down variation on the theme of IRC.
  2. Is just a means to an end: communication. Bemoaning the constraints of the form is like whining about the rules of the sonnet.
  3. 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:

S.A.L.V.E. is also available in dead tree format for just a few pennies more.


9 Responses to “Ain’t Braggin’ If You Can Do It”

  1. richard mcenroe
    June 26th, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

    Stacy McCain on the Job!

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    June 26th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm
  3. Paco
    June 26th, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

    I’m pretty sure the Department of Education has changed the rules on the sonnet, Smitty. The traditional form was viewed as being too detrimental to “self-esteem”.

  4. Jeffrey Collins
    June 27th, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    Of course it’s bragging if you can do it. If you can’t do it, that’s not bragging; it’s lying.

  5. richard mcenroe
    June 27th, 2012 @ 1:55 am

    “No brag… just fact.”  — Will Sonnet.

  6. Archonix
    June 27th, 2012 @ 7:59 am

     Of twitter shall we ever say
    A word, a phrase that is no curse
    With wonder, horror and dismay
    Complain, we must, yet not in verse
    For twitter’s sake, we must be terse

    So take yourselves away, away
    Some other venue must be found
    If length of depth  you must relay
    Take heed, take flight, take higher ground
    Begone though fiend, tweet not a sound.

  7. smitty
    June 27th, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    Very nicely played. I like the rhyme scheme, and may have to play with it a bit as therapy for some of my other vices.

  8. » 140 or fight
    June 27th, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    […] Smitty, who’s done some A-level tweeting in his day, reminds us: [Twitter i]s just a means to an end: communication. Bemoaning the constraints of the form is like whining about the rules of the sonnet. […]

  9. HWGood
    June 27th, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    Oh so very droll
    Complaints of a style limit
    Folks are atwitter