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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Sound-bites

When I first got online _________ years ago, I discovered email lists. What's more, I discovered the fun to be had debating a topic on a list, for me usually on the topic of education/homeschooling. Well, I haven't done it for several years, but I got to jump into the fray this week on, of all things, a puppetry email list.

Someone posted an article about PBS funds possibly being cut, and the conversation turned to all things education. I just couldn't sit back and allow the idea float in cyberspace that education is the responsibility of the government, could I?

What I discovered was that over time the art of discussion as turned into the art of creating a sound bite. According to Wikipedia,

It is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that deftly captures the essence of what the speaker is trying to say. Such key moments in dialogue (or monologue) stand out better in the audience's memory and thus become the "taste" that best represents the entire "meal" of the larger message or conversation. Sound bites are a natural consequence of people placing ever greater emphasis on summarizing ever-increasing amounts of information in their lives.

Every post has to wrap up the conversation in as few words as possible, the more cleverly stated the better. What's more every post has to end with some Fox News-ish, CNN-like barb about someone's character rather than actually discussing the topic itself. Instead of having a gourmet meal, we're having nuggets through the drive through--extra sauce, please.

I don't know that there is a point to this post other than to "point" out the phenomenon. I think maybe we could all lay off the news shows a little and try reading a book. A big one. One with lots of words. Pithy, yeah, a pithy book. Read one and get back to me.

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