I do not think Hemingway would do listicles, do you?


At first, I was pleased to see that Ernest Hemingway was following me on Twitter. It made me feel good, in the way that thing that are clean and true make a man feel when he is a man.

But then I perused the feed, and felt less good.

There were things that were true and right, such as:

But then there were the things that ruined it. You know the kind of things I mean. Things such as:

I do not believe the real Hemingway, the true Hemingway, would post such things. Do you?

12 thoughts on “I do not think Hemingway would do listicles, do you?

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    This would be a proper Tweet for Hemingway:

    Nick sat against the wall of the church where they had dragged him to be clear of machine gun fire in the street….

    Or maybe this:

    He went under the anæsthetic holding tight on to himself so he would not blab about anything during the silly, talky time….

    And yet, much of this feed seems to consist of silly, talky time.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Or if he did lists, it would be “Five things a man thinks while he is lying there wounded.” Or “Top Ten Things Not to Talk About.”

      And he would give you the list all at once, rather than making you click on a new page to get each item.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Pretty sure Hemingway would not tweet, period, were he still with us.

          But having a social media personae as Hemingway, and then tweeting inane social media crapola, is pretty funny in a subversive kind of way.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, I dunno about that.

            First, he was the master of brevity, of the straightforward, unadorned statement. The closest thing in literature to the Tweet are those little gems (I quoted my favorite above, “Nick sat against the wall of the church where they had dragged him to be clear of machine gun fire in the street…”) tucked between the chapters of In Our Time.

            Second, he was opinionated and didn’t mind saying what he thought. Some of the things this person uses on this feed illustrate the way he expressed himself in Tweet-sized bites… “Some writers are only born to help another writer write one sentence.”… “Remember to get the weather in your damn book–weather is very important.”… “If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”

            Third, there is the matter of lifestyle. Hemingway lived the social media lifestyle more completely than any figure of history I can think of. Follow his characters through their day. They stop in one place to pick up the newspapers. They go to another place to drink coffee and read the papers — and there is NO condition in life more conducive to Twitter than having nothing better to do than sit in a cafe and read the papers and drink coffee. Then, later, after lunch, he’ll stop in another place for a couple of drinks, and have more Twitter time. On and on, that’s how the day goes, according to Hemingway…

            I’m thinking he’d be a 30-Tweet-a-day man…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’ll tell you why Hemingway wouldn’t have done listicles…

    It seems that’s the reason Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley couldn’t get together. Something had happened to his listicles in the war…

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Fitzgerald could have tweeted listicles:
    Five things no travel bar should be without
    Top four hangover cures


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