Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Full Stop

Back in the day--primarily the Old West and early 60's sitcoms--people actually sent telegrams. Amazingly, Western Union still sent telegrams up until about five years ago, when the market pressures of everything that has happened in the last 100 years finally caught up with them, and they mostly transfer money from day laborers now.

I'm not going to say the telegram is high on the list of important cultural events of our nation, but one has to admit that there was a certain charm to having an individual dressed up like a palace guard hand you a small slip of carbon paper you could excitingly tear open which contained a message that could be anything from "It's a Girl!" to "Bet 100 on Red Velvet to Show."

Of course, since one paid by the word*, senders were generally contrite in their messages, and would go through hoops to reduce the verbiage. And this reminded me of today's social media phenomenon--Twitter. Just like a century ago, people were trying to cram as much content as they could in as few words as possible. Of course, back then it costs money to send such messages, so people carefully chose their words to have the maximum impact. Today, people try to arrange their wording so they can tell people exactly the degree to which they feel about Taylor Lautner or try to avoid wording it to seem like they believe that the Korean War never happened.

So I think I'm either advocating bringing back telegrams or telling stupid people they have to pay for each tweet now. I'm not sure which.

*Or perhaps character. I don't know and I'm not looking it up.

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