Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories (2010)

From Raw Dog Screaming Press: Anti-Twitter. Harold Jaffe’s 150 50-word stories are based on “found” texts from mainstream news sources and other public sites which Jaffe reconstitutes so that their subtexts are outed and the stories are turned against themselves into a critical commentary on our degraded epoch.

Anti-Twitter‘s extreme brevity demonstrates by example that brief need not = dumbed-down. The stories describe a wide arc: high and pop culture, intimate and public, sordid and exalted; with Jaffe’s perfect pitch and broad erudition acutely at play.

Faruk Ulay of Locus Novus posted six of the stories from my collection on his site. They are beautifully-rendered.

Here are a few sample stories from Anti-Twitter. In addition, here is a link to a review of Anti-Twitter.

Flog

Pakistan’s supreme judge demanded a hearing into the flogging of an adolescent girl, videotaped and displayed on YouTube. The video shows an alleged Taliban flogging the girl with chains while she shrieks in pain.

US analysts insist this marks an advance.

Previously, Taliban beheaded females accused of un-Islamic behavior.

Dead Wired

Online social networks are crucial to our lives and increasingly crucial when we die.

An industry has emerged to deal with online contacts after death.

Through a site called Deathswitch, humans post posthumous emails, announcements on online social networks, and send text messages.

Current cost: $16 per month.

Dope

About opium, Jean Cocteau, himself addicted, suggested chemists modify its toxicity while salvaging the euphoria.

Were cannabis legalized, it would become, like Marlboros, overpriced, with carcinogenic additives for extended shelf life.

Meanwhile the real shit, strong and safe, that amateurs grow would remain, like bootleg liquor, subject to prosecution.

A German

and his Italian girlfriend abandoned her three children at a cafe in the northern town of Aosta, after ordering them a pizza.

They left the cafe, supposedly for a cigarette, but never returned.

Later the German tried, unsuccessfully, to hang himself with his belt in the railroad toilet.

Reviews:

In Anti-Twitter, Harold Jaffe Works at the eruption point, where life in its raw fissiparity spews and proliferates story. Anger, astonishment, and outrage explode in bursts of savage irony. Jaffe excorcises the psychotic banal with a hot courage that is profoundly moral.
— Patricia Eakins

The ephemeral world-wide chatter of Twitter is here bathed in Harold Jaffe’s insidious acid, as another current language is accosted, insulted through example, and rendered absurd. Comic, at times frightening, pathetic, often ridiculous, these 150 Anti-Twitters stand against common currency of the form, become a cultural document of their own, no less than the hum of the word’s turnings. Once again Jaffe proves himself a master of subversion.
— Toby Olson

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