Readersforum's Blog

March 8, 2012

Jonathan Franzen: ‘Twitter is the ultimate irresponsible medium’

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 10:22 am

Turning on Twitter ... Jonathan Franzen. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

After criticising Facebook and the ebook, Jonathan Franzen has warned of the dangers of Twitter.

By Alison Flood

Jonathan Franzen, no friend to the rapid onward march of technology, has now turned his ire on Twitter, reportedly describing the microblogging site as “unspeakably irritating” at a book reading.

The author Jami Attenberg was at a talk given by Franzen at Tulane University in New Orleans on 5 March, and took notes on some of the novelist’s comments. After dismissing the ending of Revolutionary Road as “falsely bleak” and telling his audience that “there’s something goofy about American literature since modernism came to an end”, the celebrated author of Freedom and The Corrections moved on to social media.

“Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose,” said Franzen, according to Attenberg. “It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters … It’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers … particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.”

Far from prompting a mass Twitter exodus, however, Franzen’s reported comments gave rise to the hashtag #JonathanFranzenhates on the website.

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