Friday, 15 October 2010
Remarks aren't literature
Gertrude Stein once said ‘remarks aren’t literature’. But then she lived in a world before twitter. There is some kind of art to the perfect tweet, from ‘Lif is too short’ (Peter Serafinawicz) to This is the very tits by Graham Linnehan in a set up to a link, I’m sort of getting into the brevity/wit/soul thing. A powerful production controller who used to work at Saatchi and Saatchi was once set up by an creative team into believing that a TV company wanted to make a documentary about him called 30 second man. He fell for it because he believed that someone could take anything so short seriously. But working in advertising, I am made all too aware that some people do sometimes achieve amazingly powerful feats of chimerically short communication, because they win awards. The economist posters were for a decade or so perennial winners with such lines as Blunt, yet sharp. Then there are the most expensive three words in a screenplay, ‘The fleets meet.’ But jokes, observations and selling copy aren’t yet literature, Stein would say. A haiku maybe gets there, with 17 syllables. Trouble is most of them are shit.