Friday, January 15, 2010




a : lacking coherence: as a : lacking cohesion : loose
b : lacking orderly continuity, arrangement, or relevance : inconsistent
c : lacking normal clarity or intelligibility in speech or thought

last night i watched francis ford coppola's The Conversation. a beautiful film full about paranoia with a great piano score. gene hackman plays harry caul, a surveillance expert obsessed with a single conversation that he has recorded. after layering the recorded tape of three separate sources, he is able to decipher what was initially, mostly INCOHERENT. a phrase from the conversation, "he would kill us if he got the chance," plagues his conscious throughout the film, fearful that he is somehow involved in a potential murder. the twist (which i will not entirely reveal in case the reader has not seen this film) is that he was misinterpreting a vocal emphasis in the recorded phrase, altering the potential outcome.

and THIS is precisely why i hate text messaging. there is no tone, no emphasis, no voice. i hate when people show me text messages and ask,

"what do you think he/she means by that?"

"um, i don't know."

if you are going to take body language away from me, at least give me intonation. a text message is flat and dimensionless. and unlike a well thought out letter, the writer is given only 160 characters to say what they're trying to say. and i'm guessing most people, unlike myself, are not challenged with trying to figure out the most meaningful way of saying something in that limited space. utilizing this device to say, "i'm on my way" or "what kind of mustard did you want?" is totally acceptable. but using text messaging as a form of conversation is lazy and unclear, a perfect illustration of the INCOHERENCE of an overtly digital culture. harry caul would hang himself with a microphone wire had he seen what was to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment