Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Long and Short of It

We live in a sound-bite world. Package a message to be short and never-you-mind about the content--just make it sound good. And short. Short is the key.

Somehow natural evolution of communication has turned into de-volution. Once it was "Me Tarzan, you Jane" and what a breakthrough that was. Now it's "Me Yankle, you Rivka" and what a sad picture of modern life.

We live in an era with more knowledge available to us then at any other time, and we know less and less about even less and less. Because we are not any longer a nation of readers.

Reading, once the hallmark of the educated person, has become seriously skewed. We have gone from reading and contemplating and discussing books to "Have you read__________?" "Nah, I read the review and that's all I really need to know" to "Nah, the headline on the review said it all."

Nor is it only books we don't read as we once did. Newspapers, journals, and magazines have also fallen prey to the sound-bite scourge.

Nor is reading alone effected. The aphorism that "Great writers must be great readers" still holds true. The quality of writing has deteriorated because people aren't reading.

So no, I don't do short for the most part. No, I won't give you just the "headlines." No, I'm not going to package you a tidbit Madison Avenue-style to gobble down as you head out, no taste and no substance. No, I'm not going to give you the condensed version. If that's what you are looking for in a blog, there are plenty of other sites available.

And for the reader--self-identified as a college student--who sent in the comment, not published, that contained this sentence, thank you for making my point--"Just cause you use alot of big words dosn't mean really that you could be saying some thing."

4 comments:

G said...

During my years in yeshiva I would be asked from time to time to assist in the writing or editing of term/research papers. More often than not the person would ask afterwards what one could do in order to become more adept at "paper writing". My answer was always the same...read.

Suffice to say there were always repeat customers.

anonymously said...

Read? How many of our yeshivas, the boys ones especially, encourage this? Oh maybe an occasional book from one of the Jewish presses if the school is forward thinking but real books? Any boy who reads does it because of his family or his own wanting to not because a school told him it was important to do.

ateachertoo said...

Half the time I think it's because they can't read not because they won't read. A lot of them have trouble understanding the Cliff notes forget about the book itself. And there is always the exception like G above who can bail them out when an assignment is due. When did books get to be the enemy?

Bas~Melech said...

Brevity is the soul of wit.

(i.e. I am guilty of a short attention span for reading, unless the writing is sufficiently grabbing. But I do pride myself on writing concisely.)