To Condense

Once in awhile I stumble across old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Only occasionally do I bother to read anything from them. They have all the literary appeal of Cliff’s Notes. One time I wondered if there was a Reader’s Digest Condensed Books copy of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. On a whim, I Googled it and found out it was done as a Reader’s Digest World’s Best Reading selection.

Being curious, I found another condensed version of Melville’s famous novel published by “BookCaps”. This one is only 20,000 words long. I could probably read it in a couple of days or so. Maybe I’ll order a copy after catching up on the rest of my reading.

There are many things in today’s culture that are condensed, or trimmed down. It seems as if we can’t communicate without the use of contractions. Popular shorthand uses letters in place of whole words such as “UR”. We like our daily news consumption presented as headlines, and are given sound bytes. Minimalism has been a frequently recurring theme during the past several decades. Corporations routinely downsize their staffs and workforces. It seems like only our motor vehicles, food, and drink are the only things to escape these trends.

When I was a paid media worker, editing down became second nature. An important breaking news story had to be encapsulated to fit within the confines of a three-minute newscast and not crowd out the other stories, which were also snippets of events. Most of the hourly news preparation consisted of blue penciling already short wire copy and local stories. On the half-hours, we condensed the hourly three-minute newscasts down to one minute and called it “Headline News”.

As long as we can remember, there has been a race to miniaturize and condense large things into small packages. We can carry computing devices in our pockets that have the power of early computers that took up an entire room. The micro-computers of the past seem huge in comparison to today’s laptops and tablets.

We can watch video and hear audio that used to require large televisions and stereo gear that needed plenty of shelf space. Some technology has become so condensed that it needs to be placed inside larger housings so we don’t lose track of it.

What I’ve written today has been whittled down from a longer version because most of these observations have been written about by others before now. Besides that, shorter posts seem to get more likes.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Poetry: the best words in the best order.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in art, Books, cultural highlights, Entertainment, Gadgets, Meanderings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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