Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who Wants to Read a 9,000-Word Treatise Online?

Methinks Andrew Sullivan is laying a clever trap for Michael Berube in the November 2008 issue of The Atlantic:

The blog remained a superficial medium, of course. By superficial, I mean simply that blogging rewards brevity and immediacy. No one wants to read a 9,000-word treatise online. On the Web, one-sentence links are as legitimate as thousand-word diatribes--in fact, they are often valued more. (109)

A little later in his essay, Sullivan uses the word treatise in contrasting Aristotle unfavorably to Plato, Aquinas to Pascal--and he would have if he could have when comparing classical music to jazz at the end. But that last example of his actually goes in the opposite direction, an acknowledgment that treatises have their purposes and their places. Just not on blogs.

So here's a Mostly Harmless challenge for 2009: who can prove Sullivan wrong?


spyder said...

So, Friday night, when i went to our Knitting Factory rock emporium to hear the Spokane Symphony perform Frank Zappa concertos as part of Symphony on the Edge, i was engaging in a musical treatise of considerable length comprised of 9000 short sentences each of which could have stood alone???

Perhaps a better analogy would be that the reason the Symphony had to play at the Knitting Factory and not across the street at their expense, newly-restored, home theater, the Fox Martin Woldson Auditorium, was because the woman who donated a huge chunk of the money to finish the project, demanded that "rock music" never be played in "her" hall. And the Symphony and Fox Theater boards felt that Frank's orchestral arrangements were rock music.

The Constructivist said...

He who pays the piper calls the tune, eh?