Twitter-pated

I know people who simply lurve twitter.  It’s the new cool thing!  It’s a microblog!  Follow your friends!  It’s internet poetry!  I wanted to get it, really, but it wasn’t quite working for me.  What would be the circumstance wherein I’d want to read such short, of the minute posts?  I like the lengthy, meandering blog post, after all.  Preferably with pictures!!

But then (and you knew this was coming, right?), I happened upon Slate’s Olympic coverage via Twitter.  You would think that there’s nothing else to be said about the Olympics right now.  I love me some televised competitive swimming, but this is just getting ridiculous.  The whole world knows Michael Phelps’ torso measurement, as well as what he has for breakfast—because it’s on CNN.  Fashion magazines are covering beach volleyball; Perez Hilton is tracking medals and opening ceremony cover-ups, for crying out loud.  In this climate of neverending sports-cum-nationalism information flow, what kind of coverage could we possibly be missing?

Enter the fabulous one-liner.  A few choice quotes:

Slate’s coverage of Dara Torres informing the judges to wait for the Swedish swimmer to change her torn swimsuit; an event heralded as the apotheosis of sports ethics on NBC, merits this tweet: “Torres pointing out the Swede’s torn swimsuit is the greatest act of Olympic sportsmanship since Lochte gave Phelps half his sandwich.”

On the controversial win for Michael Phelps’, wherein he touched the wall 1/100 of a second before the Serbian swimmer.  Some cry conspiracy, and Slate’s tweet reads: “No conspiracy, Phelps just has the ability to alter space-time. That’s what he’s doing with that dolphin kick.”

Suddenly, Twitter makes perfect sense to me.  It’s the transcendental medium for the one-liner, and I prefer the ones that are sarcastic shots over the bow, capable of puncturing the balloon of teary-eyed national sentiment and/or athletic fetishism.  In feed form, the tweets are reminiscent of those magical conversations with your smartest friends, whose reactions to absurd events reduce you to tears of laughter.

The Twitter folk position their application as one in which users answer the question “What are you doing?”  I can help but wonder whether a better use might be to answer the question “What are you seeing?”

Troof.

I just sent off my article to the patient and long-suffering editor this morning and then immediately jumped in the car to catch an afternoon train to NYC for a family visit. Whew!

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I’ve been thinking about the topic for the article (fan videos and their development of narrative) for 7 months or so. At least I seem to remember that it was a cold dark night in my office finishing up the proposal it.

One might think that with all that time and thought that the article would write itself, or at the very least flow trippingly off my fingertips and onto the page. (That is, after all, what my own delusional brain was depending on…).

Instead, it was days of grappling in the dark, wringing out pages that may or may not be relevant to the argument. When the time came to give a provisional draft to a gracious reader, the main editorial comment sounded somehow familiar: “your argument and energy really starts to emerge here at the end. Have you considered starting with that?.”. And I’m back in the writing bush leagues.

I’m transcribing this rather humiliating scenario becauseI do so love to publicly flog myself for my own shortcomings, but more importantly to remind myself (and the three readers of this blog) that the process of writing and thinking are never as straightforward and fast as I expect them to be. They are, in fact, almost as painstaking and frustrating as typing this entire post with one finger as I await the onslaught of the big family trip in the hot hot city.

Wish me luck.