Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, March 03, 2011

I doubt that I will ever use Twitter all that regularly, but I am past complaining that I don't get it. Twitter is to blogging as poetry is to essays: a concise medium that uses its concision as a means to deeper expression, and sometimes even wit.

It took following the right Twitter feed for a while for me to get it. That turned out to be @Discographies, which describes itself as a "definitive guide to an artist's body of work (studio albums only) in 140 characters". The format assumes a pretty deep awareness of the chronology of releases for each artist, so naturally a lot of these didn't connect with me, but consider the entry for The Clash: "1 thesis; 2 antithesis; 3 synthesis; 4 elephantiasis; 5 arteriosclerosis; 6 paralysis." Or how about this: "The Rolling Stones: 1-4 arousal; 4-6 tumescence ; 7-10 full engorgement; 11-14 satyriasis; 15-19 midlife crisis; 20-22 erectile dysfunction." One more: "The Decemberists: 1-3 "Wand'ring wide, we sailed our tales..." 4-5 "...o'er the topographic ocean." 6 "Safely home, we commenced to jangle." I mean, I am barely aware of The Decemberists, but that sums what I do know up pretty nicely.

The other thing that Twitter does is that it works in real time, which creates a sense of immediacy. During the Chicago mayoral election someone posted a series pretending to be Rahm Emanuel. I didn't follow @MayorEmanuel-- I didn't know about it until it was over-- but it was apparently a brilliantly hilarious magical realism take on a character who fully merits that treatment. As Mayor Emanuel fades into a time vortex (long story) he tweets what David Axelrod says: "'There must be something we can do...' But there's not. Only things that fucking suck never end: look at laundry, or dishes."

Most Twitterers will never rise to this kind of brilliance, but it is great that the medium exists for those who can.

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