Twitter, Epigrams, and Alexander Pope


12 Responses to “Twitter, Epigrams, and Alexander Pope”

  1. As with Pope’s day, there are very few Pope’s compared to the general population. I would think that anyone who could master epigrammatic wit in 140 character chunks might be drowned out in the general cacophony that is the Twitterverse.

  2. Lobster says:

    Yes, if by “cleverer” they mean, “cut out a few more letters; the three people who care will probably be able to figure it out lol lol”

  3. hassenpfeffer says:

    That’s an awfully flattering portrait of the man, who by all reports was an ugly troll-like figure. Which isn’t to say he isn’t a genius; he is, and IMO one of greater stature than Swift, Johnson, or other contemporaries.

    • ymendel says:

      “Well, my cousin, Bert Baldrick, Mr. Gainsborough’s butler’s dogsbody, says that all portraits look the same nowadays, since they’re painted to a romantic ideal, rather than as a true depiction of the idiosyncratic facial qualities of the person in question.”

  4. Michael Roberts says:

    I question your assertion that computer code “has no literary style”.  It does, believe me; it’s just (somewhat) harder to find.

    • John Ohno says:

      It’s not something to be questioned — it’s merely wrong. Code has style, and the aesthetics of programs have been a major topic for the past sixty years amongst those involved with the subject.

      The characterization of code as undirected and without focus… perhaps it’s true of the Twitter code, which is notoriously flaky (and somewhat less notoriously written in Ruby, which those of us who are more accustomed to C or Forth deride as thoughtless and unnecessary abuse of cycles). But, it is by no means characteristic of good code.

  5. IvonaPoyntz says:

    Here goes that pope epigram: I am his @ highness #dog at Kew pray tell @ivonapoyntz whose dog are you via @ pope

  6. rachel says:

    tl:dr – how can a piece celebrating brevity and wit be so long and difficult to read? also, no offense to rob delaney but if the writer thinks he’s one of the funniest people on twitter, he needs to follow some new people (@GrahamGoring is a particular proponent of this specific format of humour and actually does it well)

  7. Jonas Polsky says:

    The insomnia hospital called, they want their cure back.

  8. LYNDON says:

    A lesson from design that I temporarily forgot after hanging out with computer people: every part of the form is part of the content.

    And, yes, form dictates content in more ways than that.

    Also, every part of the cultural context is part of the communication act, with most of the same feedbacks.

  9. millie fink says:

    Dang, I thought I was going to see lots of good examples here in the comments of the soul of wit (i.e., brevity).

    “It seems that cleverness has become a prerequisite to interact in the modern, digital world.”

    So very true of BoingBoing, at least.

  10. charles reid says:

    twitter certainly keeps you from becoming Polonoius…

    “My liege, and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    What day is day, night night, and time is time,
    Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
    I will be brief. Your noble son is mad…”
    - Hamlet a2:s2

    “The old chatterbox”
    - Freud on Polonious

    which one fits into Twitter?

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