“As an artist I come to sing, but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace, and no one can silence me in this.” ––Paul Robeson, performing artist and human rights advocate (from A Paul Robeson Research Guide compiled by Lenwood G. Davis)
“The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.” –– Marina Abramovic, performance artist (from The Economist interview, Sept 15, 2010)
But hey, when it comes to living a life devoted to constructing organic meaning and functional perspective out of language, there are few roles to which committed wordsmiths do not give themselves. That of the poet, social critic, fictionist, essayist, playwright, historian, journalist, and lecturer may all at some point place a hat of responsibility upon our pensive brows. For me, the launch of the Guerrilla Decontextualization initiative in 2012 served as an introduction to territories occupied by linguists, philosophers, and social critics. I make no claims to possessing the finely-honed tools which the more outstanding names in these fields have mastered. What I do possess are the restless curiosities they inspired and a lifelong interactive relationship with literature.
For those who appreciate such digitized intimacy, technology’s ability to allow people to enjoy a sense of constant connectedness is one of its most rightly-celebrated advantages. It enables family members, friends, and an extended network of tagged associates to share experiences of the moment––even if the sharing is sometimes a little too hasty and can’t be withdrawn.
The Expression of an Emoticon
The aspect of connectedness is especially useful during big or small emergencies. Like when you forget whatever it was you swore not to forget on your way to the grocery store. Or if your car refuses to start in the parking lot of a late-night convenience store that is dimly lit and abandoned–– except for one individual who looks like he’s about to grow fangs and turn your life into an unwilling blood donation. A quick abbreviated text, instant message, urgent voice mail, or single post to multiple profile pages at such times could make a vital difference.
What may be most important to understand where digital and social media communications are concerned is that abbreviations are exactly that: shortened forms of other words or phrases used most effectively in specific mediums and situations. They, somewhat like first-generation immigrant children, have origins which should not be forgotten. They might also represent implications which should not be ignored.
© 26 March, 2015