The Truth about Goats
While the well-loved actor and comedian sadly took his own life at 63, the world’s grief seems to have been condensed into a series of trite sound-bites. Despite his participation in dozens of award winning TV shows and movies, most people have squished Mr. Williams’ contribution to twentieth century art down to ‘sad face-hashtag-RIP’.
This current trend by world leaders and celebrities to reduce everything to tweet-length may be appropriate when spamming about your latest act of self-promotion, but it seems disrespectful when commenting on suicide, natural disasters or war zones. Nuanced discussion has been superseded by an irrational fear of any thought that is ‘too big to fit in a fortune cookie’. Subsequently 67% of internet users think the ‘sermon on the mount’ was delivered by Russell Brand.
In the rush to be the first to respond to a world event, we are now shortening obituaries to a series of emoticons and images of sad cats. The more serious the incident, the shorter the tweet. One historian commented: ‘Yes, Lincoln took only 272 words for the Gettysburg Address. But at 140 characters he would never have reached the bit about all men being equal. Instead, he’d have been remembered as the president who wasted forty seven characters on ‘four score and yada yada yada’ instead of just saying 87′.
Abridged messages may also be leading to succinct emotional reactions. With people flitting from life and death in their twitter feed, with all the depth and sincerity of Richard Nixon on nitrous oxide. A Twitter spokesman said: ‘Two Twitter accounts have been closed due to offensive posts about Mr. Williams. And while we do not endorse the sentiments in them, we can assure Mr. Williams grieving family that they were at least short’.