Donald Trefusis on Brevity
“Guest post” inspired by the DPChallenge.
I was approached by young Bertie – ablogdog, which as he kindly explains is not his name, but his you-are-well. Whether this denotes his breed or his profession I cannot say, or perhaps it is a passphrase to some secret domain? Anyway, I was invited to spread my metaphorical wings and broadcast my opinions in this new arena, the blogosphere. B-logo-sphere, a second domain of rationality it seems, or of discourse at any rate. Ever ready to try a new way of giving others the benefit of my superior, I fastened my seat-belt and climbed in the roller coaster of bloggings and twitterings – well, possibly in reverse order.
The new birdsongs are truly delightful, one can only deplore that they come too late. What would the scholar not give to read Archimedes’ “I’m in the bath.”, Newton’s “Would you believe it, an apple just hit me on the head!”, and Edison’s laconic “Making tea.” Whether my new young friends’ “I’m on the train” will prove equally valuable, is not for me to say.
On the blogging front, I am sadly forced to confess failure. I feel entitled to plead attenuating circumstances as I was distracted by the hand of fate. It transported me with a simple click, as if by magic, into the domain of a man named Ted. A loquacious chap, the unanimous verdict on whom seems to be “Ted talks”, otherwise I believe him to be a perfectly fluffy fellow with a catalogue of highly entertaining and enlightening expositions.
Ted’s genius is demonstrated by the fact that all the gems in his collection are brief; one even bespeaks the ability to present any idea in only six words. What progress could humanity make, or the humanities at any rate, if books and essays were strictly proscribed from exceeding a six word limit? One could easily do a whole term’s marking in a leisured forenoon, and take the rest of term off. I would suddenly have enough shelf space for my collection of stuffed owls, though, admittedly, it might be hard to convince publishers you were extensively revising word three.
The following abridgments alone will make space for the espresso machine I intend to buy with today’s profits.
- Homer’s Odyssey. Storms, sirens, giants. Don’t wait dinner.
- Dante’s Inferno. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.
- Kant’s 3 Critiques – What can we know? What should we do? What may we hope for? Not much. Your best. Perpetual peace.
If you have been, how very kind.