"Sometimes I write a post and think, This is going to get huge traffic. Then I post it and watch in disbelief as people collectively shrug their shoulders and ignore it," writes Michael Hyatt in "The Sovereignty of Readers." Image is from his post "Some Twitterers Worth Following,"
"Do you think he could be blander?' scoffs Ann Althouse regarding the maddeningly bloodless language the Leader of the Free World used today to express "deep concerns" about Iran's hotly disputed election:
What I will repeat … is that when I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me, and it's of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people. And my hope is that the Iranian people will make the right steps in order for them to be able to express their voices, to express their aspirations."
Some swoon at the President's "soaring rhetoric," but "When it comes down to words, our man [McCain] gets to the point three times faster than his opponent," we blogged back in the heat of the fall campaign:
Obama: "I am a person who believes [fill in the blank]" = 6 words
McCain: "I believe [fill in the blank]" = 2 words
"Must be that 'nuance' thing the Democrat elites are forever patting themselves on the back about," we'd chaffed at the time, noting "We ourselves have always been of the brevity-is-the-soul-of-wit school of intelligence assessment." As we wrote in Althouse's comments this afternoon:
Muscular prose reflects muscular thinking (Churchill, Reagan, GW). Flabby prose reflects flabby thinking (Chamberlain, Carter, Obama). Never use one metaphorically-charged noun or active verb when a string of colorless nouns and passive verbs will do.
We're with Frank J of IMHO, who twitters "If you wanted someone to speak forcefully on Iran, you should have elected a president with testicles." But like the White House itself with regard to Iran, "We have to deal with the American president that we have rather than the American president that we wish we had." Speaking of presidents we kind of wish we had, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper engaged John McCain in an "impromptu twitterview" (140 or fewer characters per tweet) on the Iranian Tea Party this morning:
McCain: we heard that during the Cold War when the left didn't want us criticizing the Soviet Union b/c we could have been "demonized" …
Tapper: So if President Obama called u and asked your advice what would u tell him?
McCain: speak up for these young Iranians who deserve a free and fair election.
While the American President that we do have "chose not to choose on Iran," as Jonah Goldberg put it, the folks at Twitter chose to "put themselves on the side of free expression, to let the battleground of ideas have it out," in the words of Research Director at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society Rob Fari, as Forbes reports:
But when the site's 90-minute maintenance window was announced Monday afternoon — in the midst of the service's use in organizing thousands of Iranian dissidents protesting alleged fraud in the national election — the result was a flood of thousands of requests to the site asking that Twitter delay the maintenance downtime …
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote in a blog post on the site that Twitter had worked out a deal with its network provider, NTT America, to delay the maintenance.
Now we are being told that the State Department put in a word on the side of the angels [good on you, Mr. President, if that's so]. From Reuters:
Confirmation that the U.S. government had contacted Twitter came as the Obama administration sought to avoid suggestions it was meddling in Iran's internal affairs as the Islamic Republic battled to control deadly street protests over the election result.
Meddling while not meddling. Vintage Obama. More from the Washington Times:
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to discuss the department's specific actions regarding Iran, but he said that officials were in touch with Twitter "all weekend." He also said that regular contacts between Foggy Bottom and the site on various issues had taken place long before the Iranian election.
Well, if that ain't the cheapest, most effective government intervention I've seen all year …
The #nomaintenance campaign among Twitter's own users likely had something to do with the postponement, as well, especially given than Twitter users, in aggregate, likely pinpointed the problem and communicated it to Twitter's higher-ups much faster and more effectively than the State Department could have.
The bottom line, from that Forbes article:
"The buzzy startup's employees had likely recognized that supporting the dissidents in this case was also a savvy business decision, argues Rafal Rohozinski, a founder of the Infowar Monitor research group.
Unlike other Internet firms like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, which have all been forced to choose in important cases between the interests of their users and those of the authoritarians who limit the rights of those users, Twitter's role as a protest tool fits snugly with its business motives, he contends.
"They're proving that 140 characters can build an instant mass market" he says. "I'm sure that raises their value as a company."
The Invisible Hand. Was there ever a more colorful metaphor for the self-regulating nature of the marketplace?
Update: "Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul,' The Anchoress quotes Emily Dickinson in one of her blockbuster linkathons (including us), "Twittering Liberty … and Hope," calling her readers to "Pray for the people of Iran; pray for good to triumph. Pray for their safety, their fortitude, their energy, their 'thing with feathers,' which is hope."
Update II: "The first female President," The News Junkie at Maggie's quips with a link.
Update III: And the winner is …
"The forty-fifth Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) Award goes to Sissy Willis of SISU," writes Morgan Freeberg of House of Eratosthenes [via Brutally Honest] re our "Muscular prose reflects muscular thinking (Churchill, Reagan, GW)" paragraph, above.
The man obviously has taste.