The Man They Called “Lightning Rod”

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14 Responses to The Man They Called “Lightning Rod”

  1. Ryan Mount says:

    I like this. I’m thinking this should be required reading, a kind of rhetorical warm-up prior to any blog comment.

    Considering that Twitter is unfortunately taking over the world*, and of course, dumbing down our intellectual facilities at an alarming rate, how would Ben or that matter Mr. Crabb squeeze this wisdom into 140 character-limited noise?

    My writer friends tell me that they’ve switched to a more aphoristic style to combat this lack of attention.

    You know. Shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs. Leaving out parts of speech.

    The BOLD above is 140 characters to illustrate the point.

    * IBM has software that provides real-time business analytics by scanning trends in Twitter. Drop a new marketing ad or release a new product? Watch it trend on Twitter.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Twitterism has been coming for a long time. Jefferson was able to redact the Bible to a few pages. Homer could have written, “Don’t pull over till you get home”, instead of the Odyssey. And we all get the gist of, “Injured man chases bedeviled white whale to personal ruin.”

      It has been predicted that some day we will only communicate telepathically. If a wink is as good as a nod, maybe we won’t have to communicate at all.

      ‘Nuf said?

  2. Michael Anderson says:

    I like money.

  3. rl crabb says:

    I’ve been twittering for the last thirty-odd years. When Dan O’Neill was tutoring me in the craft of sequential storytelling, the first thing he told me was to dump adjectives and adverbs. Editing is determined by the space inside the word balloon. It’s up to the picture to determine the mood.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      I don’t “twit”, and RL, you don’t either. In the frame above, there are four pictures and, oh, maybe 120 words. Since a picture *is* worth a thousand words, the total is closer to 4,120, far more than The Union would allow you were you submitting text.

      • rlcrabb says:

        Well, I was referring to the word balloons, which on average feature far fewer characters than your average tweet. We cartoonists tend to avoid words like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious”, unless we’re trying to avoid having to do any actual drawing.

        • Ryan Mount says:

          > “Supercalifragilisticexpialidotious

          That would confuse most tweeters.

          And besides, you’re practicing conciseness which is a virtue, not to mention you put thought into your work. Tweeters are self-appointed experts at idiocracy:


          @Paris Hilton: “No, no, I didn’t go to England; I went to London.”

          @Mary J. Blige: “Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents?! They should never do that!”

          Other Random Experts:

          @UGLYgirlsBquiet: “When ppl are cremated how do we know it doesn’t hurt? We don’t know”

          @STICKY_CARAMEL: “Can Sex be Good with out an Organism”

          @tchanelt: “whats obamas last name im not even kidding”

          @LOADING….: “George Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder. Who he kill the first time?”

          • rl crabb says:

            Those are some fine examples, Ryan. I’d be hard pressed to compete with such brilliance, but here’s one I once stuck into a comic book…
            “His overheated mind grappled with the awesome burden of thought.”

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            From Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits:

            “Dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.” – Evil

  4. Chris Peterson says:

    My wife calls me “lightnin’ rod.” Not really sure what that means.

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