We Have Come a Long Way, NOT!
Beginning in the fall of 1787, three of the greatest intellects involved in the birth of the United States carried out a discussion about the relationship between the new government and its citizens. The discussion, carried out in a series of newspaper articles evolved over six months and comprised 85 articles.
Such debates are not dead. The forum has changed. Now such weighty discussions are carried out on Twitter and limited to 280 characters. At the link:
Here is some background on the Federalist Papers.
The first 77 of these essays were published serially in the Independent Journal, the New York Packet, and The Daily Advertiser between October 1787 and April 1788. A two-volume compilation of these 77 essays and eight others was published in two volumes as The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787 by publishing firm J. & A. McLean in March and May 1788. The last eight papers (Nos. 78–85) were republished in the New York newspapers between June 14 and August 16, 1788.Wikipedia (The Lazy person’s reference)
The Authors of the Federalist papers were:
- Alexander Hamilton (51 articles: Nos. 1, 6–9, 11–13, 15–17, 21–36, 59–61, and 65–85)
- James Madison (29 articles: Nos. 10, 14, 18–20, 37–58 and 62–63)
- John Jay (5 articles: Nos. 2–5 and 64).
In six months, a total of 85 articles were written by these three men.
It was a long strange trip, but here we are.
How did we reach the point where complex issues of the day are reduced to 280 characters? I can point to several culprits, both have their origins in 1968 and the SDS.
Abbie Hoffman was one of the so called “Chicago Seven.” He coined the phrase, “Hey, Hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today.”
He later admitted that the phrase was nonsensical. However, it was easy to remember and repeat, had a good beat and didn’t take much time to chant. He recognized that anybody with half a brain could demolish the saying in two minutes. However, his target was the TV journalist. They didn’t have the time or requisite brain capacity.
Here is a gallery of some of the other culprits. Others may come to mind:
I guess I could go on. However, I’m not sure I can improve on Mark Twain’s observation.