Brevity=Wit Entry #5

December 7th, 2009 by Wordsman

My apologies to those of you who were expecting a picture.  As an author, my moods can shift, and I can find myself much more willing to write one kind of piece than another.  I have found that it is usually best to give in to these whims.  So this week you are getting another edition of Brevity=Wit.  Since the picture storyline isn’t at a cliffhanger this time, I might even be able to get away with it.

This week we are taking a look at another work by the man who so generously provided the name for this project: Julius Caesar (just in case anyone doesn’t understand italics, Caesar is the name of the work, not the man).  Specifically, we will examine a speech by Brutus.  Caesar is dead, killed by Brutus and his conspirators, and the Roman mob is, in a word, pissed.  Brutus needs to calm them down, and since he doesn’t have much in the way of riot gear, he has to use his words.

But Brutus is a senator.  He’s used to giving long-winded speeches to other aristocrats.  He doesn’t understand that the attention span of the average Roman commoner may only be, say, about 140 characters long.  So, though Brutus delivers a fine speech, this is probably all the people heard:

“Romans, countrymen, and lovers!  Hear me for my cause and be silent that you may hear.  Believe me for mine honor and have respect to mine h”

If I was a Roman citizen on the verge of rioting (as all good ancient Roman citizens were), this speech wouldn’t persuade me much.  It sounds like Brutus is trying to dodge the issue.  He doesn’t even mention Caesar.  All he does is tell me to shut up and brag about how honorable he is.  He’s not going to win any friends that way.  After listening to that speech, I don’t think there would be a single member of that crowd who wanted to respect his H.

I feel sorry for Brutus, though.  Controlling the mob is tricky work, and the price for screwing it up is steep.  So I thought I could step in and tell him what he should have said:

“I liked Caesar as much as you did, but I like Rome better.  He was great, but too ambitious.  You want to be slaves?  I didn’t think so.”

Tune in next week for the response!

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