By Riverboat Sam, technical specialist/digital skeptic
If brevity is the soul of wit, Twitter is the home of witlessness. The problem as it strikes a very old guy like me is as stated: Twitter is to publication like spitting is to art.
OK, I’ll spell it out for you. Not many people are good at off -the-cuff stuff. Sometimes you get lucky, but generally you get banal drivel; your spit is the equivalent of dribble.
Editors exist for a reason. Writers are reckless yahoos who say the first thing that comes into their arrogant brains. And the more arrogant and reckless the brain, the worse the writing and the better the reading. Nothing is better than reading a truly bad writer; the feeling of superiority you get is almost unmatched. You are grateful, though you haven’t written or published a word since your high school days, that you didn’t write that.
Which brings me to the “tweets” and other public pronouncements of our current president. What they reveal is that this president has no wit; his brevity is merely brief, his language just lazy. Our president speaks in a stream of unconsciousness, and as such he is unintentionally instructive.
What we Americans are learning is that there is no substitute for book learning: not wealth, not fame, not power. Sure, you can bluff, bluster and bully your way through life if you start with enough advantages, but if you lack the ability to think about your place in the world you will lack compassion, you will lack honesty, you will fall back on fear and anger and greed. Worse, you will not be witty; your world will shrink, become mean and petty. And you will talk constantly because silence and reflection are your enemy.
If you are famous in the media you will be famous on social media. You will calculate the status of your life based on the number of followers, the size of your hands and the crowd. If your life is not HUGE, you will feel small.
Pity the president; he is the biggest American of all, and yet his downfall will be words, such little things, smaller even than birds that tweet.