These days we say a lot with very little – we’re a generation of emailers, texters, and tweeters. We don’t even use words half the time – we speak in emoticons and acronyms. And so I do think about whether we’re on some kind of linguistic downward spiral – whether our children are going to speak in grunts and evolve to be chair-shaped boys and girls with giant opposable thumbs for typing. (I read a lot of sci-fi as a kid.)
You may remember this article I posted awhile back about how the communication culture is changing – how now even a cursory “thanks” is no longer sufficient to show gratitude because extra vowels (“thaaaaaanks”) are what make it genuine. Joanna Goddard wrote a great post about whether it’s okay to end professional emails with “xoxo” – something I do on occasion with men and women, strangers and friends alike. So we seem to be in a kind of language limbo where character count is key, spelling is a sentimental choice, and words are painted with pictures, not the other way around.
Yet JUST when you’re about to lose faith in it all and take a vow of monastic silence, a poet like Rives comes along and reminds you that even though change is hard, it’s also an opportunity. Check out the short and sweet 2-minute typographical fairy tale he tells in the video below. It proves the end is not nigh after all – the future is merely a little more…well…hieroglyphic. And if you feel like having a little fun, enjoy another of his short videos from HBO’s Def Poetry Jam – Why to Date a Poet if you Like Dirty Talk (warning – some naughty language!).