In my last post to this blog, the one from November 16, in which I was actually responding to an editorial (or so it called itself) in a new local free newspaper here in Cambridge, I went on forever, well at least to the length of 3500 words. The editorial itself was much shorter, barely 550 words. It hardly warranted so much of my attention—not because I am any more important than anyone else, except to me of course. Rather, the editorial was written, or at least it read, like it was wrung out by a freshman science major, with a penchant for stating the obvious as if it were an argument.
But my problem was not even with that—why get started? My problem is that the simple observation that the MBTA should have planned a green line route to carry the as yet non-existent residents of North Point to Harvard Square (and simply because without such a green line, they will make a bee line to the boutiques of Back Bay, while whining about how hard it is to get to Harvard Square) was a single point, an asymptote, on a larger sphere of problems.
Addressing the single point would be as effectual in coping with that world of problems, as relieving a hungry village in Nepal with a single bag of rice.
So, what is my defect? Being set off by a single point to attempt to address a galaxy of of points. And I always seem to try to address the entire sphere at once.
As George Bernard Shaw observed, "The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time." In short, there’s a universality to things, to all things, and any one thing, if one only seeks it.
I write at length because there are so many things that make up the universe that we experience, each in his or her own way, in the shorthand we call "life."
The world says, get to the point, or can’t you be brief? Marc Levy, the editor of Cambridge Day, responded to me by email, when I sent him a link to my blog entry, by saying, "I’m not sure how many people read your blog; if you wanted to share your thoughts with others, you could shorten it and have it run as a letter on the commentary page."
Don’t bother with War and Peace, man… Cliff Notes!
Even if no one reads, I will write. The few who get it will, eventually, read it. Those who don’t, like Mr. Levy, will make newspapers to boost the local economy. That will get people to Harvard Square for sure…