"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do," Slate quotes Thomas Jefferson — a man after our own less-is-more writer's heart — in "All Men Are Tweeted Equal," an invitation to fellow freedom lovers to "condense the Declaration of Independence to one tweet":
It took Thomas Jefferson only 17 days to write the Declaration of Independence. Pretty impressive work for what one historian famously described as "American Scripture" and what the National Archives calls "the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty." Then again, it's only 1,300 words or so, approximately 8,000 characters. In other words, three-and-a-half tweets a day …
So here is our challenge to Slate readers: Condense the Declaration of Independence to one tweet. For example: "All men should be equal, happy and free. Suck it, King George. We quit. Love, the U.S. of A." Or maybe: "All men are free. Also: No more quartering of troops." Reduce the document to what you see as its essence. The most recent tweets, and the most popular, will be collected below. After three days, we'll collect the best and publish them the weekend of July Fourth.
As usual with this Internet stuff, there are some crucial details. The most important is that each tweet contain the hashtag #TinyDeclaration. That will allow us to collect all the entries, but it also means that you really have only 124 characters left to summarize Mr. Jefferson. (Sorry.) Feel free to tweet as often as you like — there's no limit on the number of times you can enter — but remember that we won't count any tweets made after Wednesday at midnight. If you like a tweet, retweet it — that will help us see which ones are most popular.
We invite our readers to jump in. Like Bill Whittle's exercise of writing out the Declaration long hand, it's a great way to reinhabit one of our precious founding documents. Here's a fave we just retweeted from @davidkomatar:
Dear king, perhaps it would be better if we were "just friends" #TinyDeclaration
And our own tiny masterpiece:
And while we're in a patriotic mood on this Fourth-of-July Eve, a sampling of Declaration-inspired blogposts from the archives:
Oh, say, can you see?
Update: Opinionated Catholic links.
Update II: Bird Dog at Maggie's links.