This Is Twittering: Meta-commentary Digest, Episode 28

I hope you had a nice Thank-Sgiving. Now, let’s talk about the things I say on Twitter. Let’s call it another episode of This Is Twittering: Meta-commentary Digest.

REACTION:

QUESTION AUTHORITY.

No, no. Not *that* authority. The other one *over there*.

How dare you question me when I tell you to question people who tell you things.

REACTION:

Like I always say, “Ask a stupid question, get a legitimate answer.”

I do this sometimes when people ask me stupid questions. And maybe legitimate answers are the stupidest answers of all.

REACTION:

Eyewitness accounts are great at gauging emotions, but not great at determining facts. Trust me: *I was there*.

Everybody knows that eyewitness testimony isn’t the best kind of evidence, except when it’s their own eyewitness testimony being called into question.1 It’s been scientifically demonstrated time and time again: we don’t pay attention. The question is, how do we know the scientists aren’t misremembering the results of their experiments? I guess we just have to take it on authority.

WORDPLAY:

You’re so vane, I bet you think the direction the wind is blowing is about you.

Weathervanes are useful tools for determining which direction a rooster is facing.

REACTION:

Tip for sounding smart: just add that which includes a lot of extra other words around what in the sentence you are in the act of writing.

…and…

But at the same time, leave out words you assume everybody knows mean, like prepositions and pronouns, because saves time take nap.

These are things that some people do. I’m pretty sure the former happens as a way by which the writer wishes to seem, quid pro quo, more intelligent than one might assume that same person to be. I admit, it’s fun to write like that. But it’s not a good idea if your goal is to be understood.

The latter happens when writers write exactly how they speak. When speaking, a lot of grammatical meaning is expressed through inflection, allowing us to drop words. For example, “Are you going the store?” becomes “Going to the store?” and the hearer knows what that means. Again, writing like this isn’t a good idea if your goal is to be understood. And the primary goal of most writing should be to be understood, not to sound “smart”.

REACTION:

“Link; don’t stink.”

This is my internet attribution motto.

Internet plagiarism makes me mad.2 A lot of news-ish sites like to post bits of news or videos or whatevers without giving a hat tip to where they found it. I don’t like this, either. I don’t even like it when someone toots song lyrics or inspirational quotes without quotation marks. I’m pretty uptight, I guess. But how about giving credit where it’s due?

STUPID:

Semicolons are so pretentious.

No, they aren’t. I think they’re useful punctuation, along with colons and dashes. In my previous toot, neither a period nor a comma provided effect I wanted. Ergo: T.G.I. Semicolon.

WISDOM:

Everyone wants to be an iconoclast until their own icons are the ones being o’clasted.

This goes along with questioning authority. No one really wants to change their own point of view; they want to change other people’s. It’s just how our brains are wired. The irony is, our brains are also wired to hold tighter to our own beliefs when they are attacked. Extremism begets extremism. So, we’re all doomed. But don’t despair: it’s always been this way (hat tip: God).

By the way, did you know that “o’clasted” isn’t really a word? Pretty funny, huh? I’m so clever.

WISDOM:

We’d probably be a lot smarter if we weren’t so worried about being clever.

Shit.

REACTION:

This is why we can’t have nice clichés.

But clichés make the world go round. All work and no cliché makes Jack a dull boy. Let’s give credit where cliché is due. Clichés are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ll believe it when clichés fly.

And so on and so cliché.

That concludes this episode of This Is Twittering: Meta-commentary Digest.

  1. When there’s a high-profile murder trial in the news, people like to talk about how circumstantial evidence is better than eye-witness testimony. And that’s often true, but it’s only true because a lot of eyewitness testimony is essentially worthless. []
  2. Fortunately, I’m not popular enough to be plagiarized. []