Friday, June 5, 2009

Blah, and Furthermore, Blah

If you would be so indulgent, dear browser, I would like to don my Old Man hat and rant a bit. If I could ask for your further obligefulness, I would also like to don my hobo pants. Thanks! Mighty white of you.

Oh, it wouldn't bother you, dear browser, if I were to wear these fat guy suspenders too, would it? Grand. And this dirty old cummerbund? Capital!

Of course, I did not come here to discuss my wardrobe, but rather the slow and inexorable decline in substance and quality of American written discourse. Let me put it in a timeline:

In the Olden Days, intrapersonal communication was characterized by mincingly polite prose on really dense, yellowish paper served up in envelopes like the one pictured above, which appears to have been sealed with strawberry preserves. Letters were painstakingly written by hand with a singularly disagreeable instrument called a "fountain pen," which was basically a miniature dagger retrofitted for writing duty by placing it near a little dunky-pot of ink.

The point of course is that if you were going to go through all the trouble of sharpening your pen and finding some of that neat leathery paper and some jam to seal your envelope, you were going to make jolly well sure that your content was worthy.

For instance, just a day ago, I got a letter from a friend. Sure, it was just an email, but compared to the fashionable methods of communication, it was downright quaint.

And so it was for years, until someone (probably some hard-faced old man with a monocle and a limp and a penchant for whacking children with a cane) came up with the typewriter. "Myeah! It lets ya write lots, see? Lots! And all in one go, see? Myeah!" this prince among men probably said.

It was then possible for the average (literate) human to put down on paper all that he wished to say without worrying about running out of ink, hurling his damnable fountain pen out the window in frustration, or deciding that this paper was far too nice to be rudely prodded with said pen.

The letter I got from my friend, for example, was orders of magnitude longer and more richly detailed than most of today's fashionable methods allow. Well, okay, it was only a single sentence, but it was a properly structured and punctuated sentence. Try getting that from your average Twitterer.

The typewriter served mankind (and, according to some thought experiments, monkeykind) well for decades until some pansy with tender fingertips invented the word processor. With its ability to store page upon page of writing in semi-volatile form, ease of editing surged. Now a reasonably intelligent monkey could write an eight-page letter, complete with proper spelling and mostly proper punctuation, without saying more than two or three important things.

The letter my friend sent me, though, being only the single sentence, was a paragon of distilled wit; the antithesis of vacuous; a precise roadmap of the important events in his life.

Well, okay, it was about a fart. And at least one imaginary shrew.

That's not really important right now. I just don't like these modern kids, slouching around ejaculating their proto-thoughts with their shiny little cellphones that I fantasize about sealing up permanently with strawberry preserves.

As much as I am loathe to do so, I have to take off my Old Man hat so that I can post this little rant in a browser that is still in beta, on a computer with four processors and two monitors. Otherwise, it'd be hypocritical, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I didn't know what I would start. But I'm so proud and have a tear in my reddened eye. Great stuff. Why not make The Beard proud and Tweet about this?


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