Missing in all the hoo-ha attending Twitter’s NYSE coming-out ceremony last week, was any recognition that its trading debut edged liberal political dialog one notch closer to extinction.
We Liberals are fundamentally incapable of posing simple questions, giving simple answers, or responding to any conversational gambit –- written or verbal -- in as few as 140 words, much less 140 characters. It’s just not our nature. We don’t deal in crisp slogans, catchy sound-bites, or twitterverse exchanges. When -- for example -- did you last see an arresting Liberal bumper sticker?
Liberals are conditioned from birth to spend their unexciting lives engaged in long, boring, richly nuanced exposition, propounded with rigor and exactitude. Excepted from this rule are arch comebacks, as when Judge Julius Hoffman at the Chicago 7 trial admonished Liberal manqué Norman Mailer to “stick with the facts”, and Mailer replied, “Facts are nothing without their nuance, sir.”
As Ray Penning wrote in COMMENT, “political practice is reductionist by nature,” which fact leaves Liberals at a distinct disadvantage. Conservatives bury us at sloganeering. Only one historical Democratic presidential campaign slogan makes it onto my personal Hit Parade, FDR’s Happy Days Are Here Again (and he had to poach it from Tin Pan Alley); all the rest are Republican or Whig.
Liberals and Progressives had better get cracking and start raising a generation of verbal-shorthand virtuosos or our ideas are going to be left in the dustbin of history (no mean phrasemaker, Comrade Trotsky), as political discourse falls victim to shorter and shorter attention spans, and the microchip gradually replaces the neuron.