Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.
Arts & Entertainment

7-26 - The Great Twitter Outage

John Rabe

If you’re like me, from this morning was hard. Twitter was out. We didn’t know what to do. We wrote 140-character notes on Post-Its and gave them to our co-workers or posted them on Facebook. Some of us cried silently. Our lives changed forever.

I was in my office when it happened. I was ready to pull out my seppuku sword, a Sukesada wakizashi, which I keep in a drawer in case KPCC goes country. But as I turned around to untie my kimono, my eye fell on some old, neglected friends: books. And I thought of the happy hours we’d spent together. And my despair melted away.

There was Carlos Clarens’ seminal work, An Illustrated History of the Horror Film, a gift from my friend George “Crazy College” Stewart.

There was another world locked inside the Edison Kinetoscope and the Cinematographe Lumiere, a veritable Pandora’s box of marvels and horrors, waiting to be released.

This was my introduction to the serious study of the horror film.

And there, next to Total Television, was the balm and refuge of the picayune English major, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, filled with wit, and humor, and – best of all – rules.

gender: grammatical term only. To talk of persons or creatures of the masculine or feminine gender, meaning of the male of female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder.

Lastly, in this small survey, Nikolai Gogol’s Taras Bulba, an ancient purloined copy, in which the men are always standing with their arms “akimbo,” that is, with their hands on their hips and their elbows outward.

The drum rattled, and soon black swarms of Cossacks began to collect like bees in the square. All formed in a ring; and at length, after the third summons, the chiefs began to arrive—the Koschevoi with staff in hand, the symbol of his office; the judge with the army-seal; the secretary with his ink-bottle; and the osaul with his staff. The Koschevoi and the chiefs took off their caps and bowed on all sides to the Cossacks, who stood proudly with their arms akimbo.

I found myself engrossed in these old companions for at least five minutes, and when I returned to my computer and found Twitter had returned, I forgot all about them.