Abridge

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abridge: (v.): 1. to shorten (a book, movie, text or speech) without losing the sense. 2. curtail: Even the right to free speech can be abridged.

This happened to me several months ago.

I realized that my essays, speeches, and even books were getting too long. They needed to be abridged. But you see, the only problem with making something shorter is that the evidence of truth is often hidden in the longer discourse.

But our entire world is abridged, via texting, tweeting and even an instinct to summarize deep concepts into brief sound bytes. So I was thinking about famous thoughts or virtues that were once spoken in some length that now would be abridged in our society for the sake of convenience and ease of comprehension:

The Sermon on the Mount — It probably would be summarized via a tweet, to four words: Be good to people. Much would be lost in the translation,k but the tweeter would certainly insist that the summary was sufficient and specifics, unnecessary.

The Gettysburg Address: “Lots of dead people. Let’s honor them.” Even though Abraham Lincoln thought he WAS being brief, his words would still not fit into a tweet.

The Declaration of Independence: “We’re all the same, so chill out.” Thomas Jefferson’s eloquence might be lost in this rendition, but you cannot really tweet multi-syllabic words without abbreviating them anyway.

And of course, there’s The Bible, which would basically be tweeted out: “There is a God. Act accordingly.”

Even though I see the value of an occasional Reader’s Digest abridging of certain aspects of human communication, there are thoughts that require the beauty of language and the interlacing of the fabric of phrases.

So brevity is the soul of wit–but sometimes being witty is not nearly as pretty.

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