The style of the essay is dying. Twitter, FaceBook, texting, television news, and other forms of media have caused our public discourse to degenerate into something tailored for an audience whose attention span is measured in seconds. Discussions are composed of short, emphatic, declarative statements shot like bullets from an automatic rifle, often with similar purpose – to harm and wound the opposing side. We no longer converse but instead throw acronyms at each other.
Essays have a topic, supporting statements, and a conclusion. They cannot be written in 160 character bursts of monosyllabic, phonetically spelled words, and they do not use graphic terms for fornication to emphasize the verity of their statements. They cannot be squeezed through the black hole of modern discourse to be synthesized into a single, black or white, unequivocal utterance containing the entirety of its meaning.
Essays have a long history of winning hearts and minds, bringing about change, opening up new discussions, and even encouraging new ways of thinking. By choosing a topic, offering sound, relevant examples in its support, and showing how the conclusion is the logical result of well-reasoned arguments, an essay can leave an impression that lasts longer than the lifespan of a mayfly. Assuming, of course, someone actually does manage to maintain his focus long enough to read it.
My intent is to help revive the essay as a means of sharing ideas on the topics life presents all of us. My opinions about politics, religion, culture, and other topics will become manifest over time. I do hope people will read my essays, but in the end, I am writing to give permanence to my thoughts about what is happening around me. It will be interesting to see if anyone hears a single voice among the multitudinous cacophony of today’s world.