A proper twit

For the last fortnight, not that anyone has noticed, I have been, as it were, enrolled in the Twitterversity, so that I find at the time of this writing I have ping’d some one hundred and sixty-nine “tweets.” I was put up to this by well-inclined people, at least one of whom argued plausibly that as I do still scan the Internet, as I once scanned newspapers and magazines, and I will make gratuitous comments on the sludge I am reading as I go along, I might as well post such remarks in a place where they can be a source of irritation to a wider audience — and a lure to these “Essays in Idleness,” where a fuller and more formal trial of gentle reader’s ability to withstand abuse can be administered.

Note that this my Twitter feed can be found here, and should be flagged or “bookmarked” by all masochists. I now consider it to be “my other website,” or if you will, a bonus offered to my subscribers — absolutely free! And whereas I largely eschew use of Uniform Resource Locators in the text of these essays, because they are crass, in Twitterdom they are much the whole point, and my tweets have been and will be full of them.

As an incurable old hack, this gives me an opportunity to point towards events the Main Stream Media are eager to avoid reporting, or to other items on the Internet that would not be to their taste; leaving the tiniest little space to explain what it is that I have found interesting. This makes an amusing exercise, given the limitation of individual posts to 140 characters, net. I am taken back to headline-writing days on the old dead-tree newspapers, where the trick was to fit, into an extremely confined space, as much honest mischief as one thought one’s superiors might allow or, since they allowed very little, fail to understand.

Truth told, I got constantly into trouble for the headlines I had written — usually the next morning, when some earnest colleague would explain the meaning to the publisher, with a comment such as, “Looks like Warren has done it again.” (Often I was charged with “obscurity,” when the problem was that my obscurantism had failed.) Between that, and my childish propensity to practical joking, I was not fated to rise in the journalistic world; especially in North America, where dullness is held among the categorical imperatives, along with conformity to the reigning ideological order.

That no one, under any circumstance, should stoop to reading or writing Tweets, might go without an argument. But like so many other things, starting with the practice of journalism itself, “the world’s second-oldest profession,” I do it anyway. (One must, after all, do something for a living, when one lacks talents or skills.) It seems a suitable medium to the age, in which everything is written on water, and I trust God to make the best of it. I, for my part, have only to disseminate so much of the truth as I think I may have grasped: not much, but something.