Tuesday, July 17, 2012

short and sweet

The time seems more insistent now, but I suppose it never really was -- the time when people wanted things short and sweet in their daily lives: Just give me the answer and I can be on my way.

Once upon a time, I used to read books by the pound. I never felt luckier than to have a 1,000-page novel in my hands. Of course not all long novels or history books were equally enchanting. "Anna Karenina" was to die for. Jane Austen and Marcel Proust and John Galsworthy were often numbing.

Stand up, speak up and shut up seems to be the trend these days. Facebook and Twitter abound with mindless, but blessedly brief, observations and self-promotions.

Short and sweet. We may ask for it and hope for it, but once having been given it, what use do we make of it? Asking for the short-and-sweet carries with it a petition for completeness, a bid for the 'whole story' ... and when that is given, well, now we know and the topic has worn out its welcome.

Just because it's long, doesn't mean it's any more true (consider the semi-colon as employed by academics). Just because it's short doesn't mean anyone knows squat.

I guess the bliss of ignorance is just another personal responsibility.

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