Saturday, May 29, 2010

The New Sonnets

I am occasionally asked, "Why would I want to be involved with Twitter? Why does anybody? Who wants to read about what someone is having for breakfast, or whatever?"

Granted, there is no shortage of noise on Twitter. It may even be true in this case that Sturgeon's Law applies to the remainder after applying it for the first time. (I say that, and then I mumble something about it being handy for sharing links, and that's usually about it.)

However, I came across a new feed this morning that reminded me of the great Duke Schirmer, one of my favorite teachers, who responded long ago to my sophomoric griping in Creative Writing about the "unnecessary constraints" of the sonnet form by encouraging me to think of the strict format as a challenge to work within. I am also reminded of MK's observation after watching the Seinfeld episode about "Master of Your Domain" that the censorship rules of teevee made it funnier.

Here, there can be something rather amazing about making jokes while being restricted to 140 characters. And even deeper within the bounds, the appropriation of the service's built-in tools for different purposes -- mock hashtags, for example -- just makes me marvel at the human creative spirit.

Anyway, have a look at @BPGlobalPR, even if you are a Twitter-hater. Andrew Revkin reports (the real) BP is furious about it, to the point of trying to get it taken down:

@SpillBabySpill #BP wants Twitter to shut down fake account mocking them. Twitter wants BP to shut down #oilspill ruining the ocean. [The offending, and darkly hilarious, faux Twitter account is [at] @BPGlobalPR.]

Here's one of my favorites, of @BPGlobalPR's recent tweets:

@bpTerry just asked a scientist why there are so many crows in the south. Turns out they are seagulls. It was AWKWARD. #bpcares

Three guesses about who @bpTerry (but not really) is.

And if you see what I'm saying, someday you might also look at, for example, @Atrios, @edroso, @tbogg, and @daveweigel.


P.S. I idly Googled the Duke's name, not remembering whether his last name had a C or not. Sadly, I see I now have to refer to him as "the late great." RIP, Duke. I don't write poetry anymore (to the relief of most everyone who knows me), but I've never forgotten your lessons, from that form or any other.

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