Monday, January 19, 2009

A truth universally acknowledged

There was a time when people spoke in complete sentences, a time when conversation was an art. Now, even when attempting to reproduce the style of the lost art of conversation, even the best script writers have problems.

Watch this scene from Lost in Austen , a back-to-the-past-in-the-future parody of "Pride and Prejudice". Close, but not close enough.

Is it a fascination with the lost art that leads many of us to become hooked on Jane Austen's novels? And what has happened to the art of conversation to make talking in complete, let alone complex sentences such a chore?

I have a theory. In the nineteenth century the leisured classes had little to do other than perfect their skills in such areas as conversing, embrodery and music (women), and hunting (men). People didn't have to learn new words almost daily.

See full image HERE
Take "twitter" for example. Pre March 2006 the word meant. And now? "Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length." (Wikipedia. Blog, blogger, internet, ram, memory stick, not to mention those archaic bits and bytes.

And of course it isn't just in the world of information technology that new words and terms are introduced daily. What about in music (track, album, rap, rif, reggae, rock, R&B ...) and the visual arts (WYSIWYG, video, tivo, tape, CD, Ipod ...) and literature (blog, word processor, Kindle, Word, ghostwriter). The environment (green, carbon footprint, cradle to cradle

And as well as learning new words and concepts, people nowadays need to learn new skills in an ever-changing technological environment. Surely the human mind can only absorb and retain so much.

We don't "converse" and more. We "social network". We show our interest in someone by sending them (if we are a FaceBook users) a digital hatching egg or a growing flower which is really just a sequence of zeros and ones.

Imagine a FaceBook Pride and Prejudice. Someone has!
Charles Bingley is renting a house in Hertfordshire!
Mrs. Bennet became a fan of Charles Bingley.
Kitty Bennet can't stop coughing!!!
Charles Bingley is now friends with Mr. Bennet and Sir William Lucas.
11 of your friends are attending Assembly at Meryton.
From AustenBook


Write a FaceBook script of Darcy's first proposal to Elizabeth.

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