The internet gives us so much, but with everything it gives, it takes something away (or gives us something we don’t want). Today I’m going to complain about the term on the internet I might hate the most, tl;dr (for those who don’t know it means: too long didn’t read). I have always been annoyed by this phrase, mostly because after I take a lot of time to collect thoughts and write something intelligent people will simply respond “tl;dr” as a way to tell me, “You talk too much, and I’m not going to be bothered to read what you wrote.” Sometimes tl;dr is used in a less toxic way. Sometimes people ask for a tl;dr version of things or sometimes people just offer it after a rant to summarize. Honestly I worry that people more and more are looking for tl;dr versions and that people’s attention spans are shrinking. We have to stop looking for shortcuts to everything, especially with information and knowledge. We have to stop reading headlines or thing that people send to us that sum up some small point. We have to actually read articles and we should probably read multiple ones if it’s about something we care about to make sure we clearly understand what’s going on. Many times people will tell me that they understand an issue or a fact fully, but after a brief conversation I realize many people only have the broad strokes, which is good for impressionist paintings, but not so good for knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, at times I’m guilty of this and I aim to be better at this. So let’s do it together.
It’s funny/sad because I thought about writing tl;dr for a few weeks now and I drew the cartoon above about a week ago (because I thought it was possible Trump might sign an Executive Order without reading and just getting a shortened version), and now there have been several news stories about how Trump is apparently angry because he wasn’t fully briefed about the Executive Order he signed did not know he promoted Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. Some people might blame his team, but why didn’t he just read it himself? So this may be an extreme example but it’s fitting. We must read, we must listen, and we can’t skip over the gruesome parts to get to stuff we like or perhaps those little details will start to take over. And those details, they often have the devil in them.
Please read above, it’s only 420 words