Friday, March 12, 2010

Lindsays, Tweets, and Samuel's Peeps

I consider myself a blogger, not a writer.

Blogging is like entry-level writing. Microblogging is like entry-level blogging.

Those who post boiled-down messages from the popular social networking site Twitter are said to be “tweeting”. Tweets are the most well known form of microblogging.

But for those who think microblogging and tweeting are recent phenomena, think again.

Of course there’s nothing new about making a long story short, but even centuries ago enterprising individuals sought to make the world a better place by saving time and expense on bothersome words. “Brevity is the soul of wit”, said Shakespeare (which is ironic because if ever oh ever a windbag there was, this wordy windbag was one).

The first known “microblogger” was Samuel Pepys. His name pronunciation is revealed in the following limerick:

It is said that one Samuel Pepys
Had the best diary by bounds and leaps
He penned of a plague
In a style far from vague
His account of it gave me the creeps

Unlike other chatterboxes of his time, like Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh, Pepys preferred to write about the day’s events in a diary. This was quite revolutionary for his time. I remember I had a diary when I was a child. I don’t believe it contained enough pages to handle a story as big as the Great Plague or the Great Fire of London. This is what made Pepys such an innovator. He told accounts of the day's events in concise snippets, which were then known as “peeps”.

By the way, MacFhirbhisigh (and you thought I made that up!) — after seeing how succinct Pepys’ writing was — is credited with coining the expression, “Jeepers, creepers! Where’d you get those peeps, sir?”

Whether we’re talking brevity or peeping or tweeting or microblogging or blurbing or…

Ah, never mind. I’ve said too much on this already.

Let’s turn our attention now to a recent news item about that multi-faceted star of publicity stunts; Lindsay Lohan.

Here are excerpts from an article in the Toronto Star (the bracketed question marks are mine):

The 23-year-old actress (???) has launched a $100 million (U.S.) lawsuit against discount brokerage eTrade, according to the New York Post.

“They're using her name as a parody of her life. Why didn't they use the name Susan? This is a subliminal message. Everybody's talking about it
(???) and saying it's Lindsay Lohan,” Stephanie Ovadia, Lohan’s lawyer, told the Post.

Ovadia suggested that Lohan has elevated
(???) ‘Lindsay’ to the same sort of one-off recognition status as ‘Madonna’ or ‘Cher’.

Lohan’s lawyer should realize that eTrade didn’t use the name Susan because it would surely invite legal trouble from a bunch of Susans. They should instead have used a fabricated name like Dubhaltach.

As yet, there have been no complaints reported from Lindsay Wagner, Lindsay Davenport, Lindsay Crouse, Lindsey Buckingham, Lindsey Vonn, Lindsey Hunter, Lindsey Jacobellis, Lindsay Ontario, or Mark Lindsay.

We should all take a lesson from this and be wary of the names and words we use. Be brief. Use peeps. Send tweets. Read Pepys. Never, ever utter the name Lindsay.

And woe betide anyone who, without express written consent, should use the names G. Thomas or G. or Snow Shoveling or Snow.

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