« | Home | »

Franzen v. Twitter

Tags: |

Jonathan Franzen, having seen off the menace of ebooks earlier this year, has directed his ire this week against social media, reportedly saying:

Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose… it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters… it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium… People I care about are readers… particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.

But this is to make a category error, roughly as reasonable as complaining about the constraints of telegrams, or saying: ‘Novels are unspeakably irritating. They’re such a slow and roundabout way to alert my friends to an interesting article I read in the LRB archive.’

Comments on “Franzen v. Twitter”

  1. zbs says:

    I too, dislike it.

    But how peculiar that the two desiderata for the format are fact-citing and argument-making. I would find JF unspeakably irritating if he weren’t always undercutting his own similes, e.g. with the semaphore performance art piece or the oulipo project. (Anyway, I’m not sure we’d need Kafka on twitter—there’s Teju Cole.)

  2. alex says:

    As ways of saying “Jonathan Franzen is unspeakably irritating” go, this is comparatively concise (726 characters, of which 376 are direct quotation), although not as concise as the one I have posited (only 38 characters).

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • streetsj on Burning Injustices: The Tories seem to be behaving like football teams of old putting everyone behind the ball just to defend their lead. In this case obviously the lead ...
    • IPFreely on Burning Injustices: But it works, it works - in the sense that the voters (the tory ones ) will cheer and down another stiff one. She might not be Maggie but she's a dam'...
    • Ouessante on Post-Democratic Broadcasting: Nick Robinson was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. Charitably, it shouldn't matter...but it does.
    • Peterson_the man with no name on Post-Democratic Broadcasting: The standard glib response to accusations of BBC bias is to point out that "left-wingers and right-wingers both think the BBC is biased against them, ...
    • Scaramouche on With Senegal’s Fishermen: In 2006, when the dangerous journeys by open pirogues to the Canaries were at their height, West Africa's traditional coastal fishing had been badly d...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement Advertisement