Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Naming by the News.

Of passing interest to this endeavor: it seems the mainstream media have become at least superficially acquainted with our subject medium: the Washington Post (that bastion of the Establishment!) has ventured so far as to suggest that Twitter can be (perhaps even should be) Art. Unsurprisingly, the Post's treatment focuses on the less-challenging practitioners: @mrichtel, @fireland, @sacca -- a completely unjust snubbing of the epic Toughy Tales!

The article suggests a normative view of Twitter as art. In the rigid valuation of Monica Hesse:
The best [tweets] are intimacy wrapped in aphorisms topped off with self-deprecation and a dash of ambiguity. They capture individual moments in time, but allude to past and future. They are not memorable quotes so much as they're miniature stories.
Perhaps the most compelling demonstration against Hesse's evaluative framework is the work we are here devoted to interpreting -- that is, the Toughy Tales. The Toughy Tales' complexity -- which of course encompass intimacy, ambiguity, etc. etc. -- far exceed the constrictions of Hesse's framework.

Although the Post's critique is far from penetrating, we may find illuminating the published quotations from Twitter "artists" and commentators ("twitics" is the coinage the Post suggests -- what would Kripke say?!) Professor Dinty W. Moore, editor of the celebrated journal Brevity, notes: "They raise questions. They don't answer questions. Like poetry, very short prose pieces are all about compression. Every word and detail must do triple duty to set a mood." Tim O'Reilly (@timoreilly, namer of the "Web 2.0," cogently comments that "[i]n a medium like Twitter, the literary work isn't the tweet. It's the persona that you're putting together." We may have to beg to quibble with the esteemed Mr. O'Reilly -- it seems to me, at least, that the Toughy Tales prove that the artistic work is not only the tweet, but the "persona" -- as well, of course, as the interactivity (of, for example, unpacking.)

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