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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It is a truth universally acknowledged that….


…Twitter’s 140-character ceiling does not allow for a great deal of in-depth analysis. But…. it can sometimes provide a great spur to the brevity which, as we have been told, is the soul of wit (thank you,  Polonius, who talked the talk….too much!).

Anyway, I’ve been active in Twitter for a while now, and in particular I monitor what people tweet about Jane Austen—and it didn’t take me long to notice that an endless stream of Tweeters rises every day to the challenge of riffing on the extremely famous first sentence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Note that I am not talking about the vast legion of Tweeters who simply requote the original literally. While I’m a hardcore Janeite who loves every word that Jane Austen ever wrote, how much fun is there in just repeating her most famous line? What catches my eye and my fancy are those witty parodies which demonstrate some creative engagement with the notion of a universally acknowledged truth.

Perhaps the most famous example of such a parody is one that has taken on a life totally its own, inspiring countless variations in an Alanis Morissette “ironic” mode, and is Tweeted about half as often as Austen’s original:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that as soon as one part of your life starts looking up, another falls to pieces.” Helen Fielding

And I have a queasy feeling that the following example is about to become a whole lot more famous (and retweeted) very soon (and if I have to tell you why, perhaps this post is not for you):

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

And… I’ve noticed that a few other versions have achieved various degrees of virality on Twitter, such as the following:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of manuscript must be in want of editor”  [due to an overabundance of writers in Twitterdom]

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that any being in possession of a mobile device, must be in want of a wifi. [due to our collective Internet addiction]”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the second you fart in an empty grocery store aisle someone will show up to judge you.”  [no explanation necessary]

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a married woman in possession of a good imagination must be in want of a Mr. Darcy. @KiwiBreeder [due to lots of Janeites out there!]

At some future point, I will explore less direct variants on Austen’s immortal epigram, such as those which tweak one of the three keywords, while keeping the other two, such as my own effort in that subgenre:

“A truth RARELY acknowledged: 20 shades of Austen’s Byronic/Miltonic hero/villain Mr. Darcy http://tinyurl.com/kmbl9yq

Anyway, it occurred to me today to create this ongoing post (if you like the idea, please Bookmark it and visit regularly), where I will collect, and continue to collect until I get tired of it, the best of those parodies. I will gather them below under my own very subjective catalog of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, broken down into three broad and self evident categories: 

LOL!    HMMM…   &   WTF?

As for the very rare ones that cross over, and make me laugh, think, AND scratch my head, they will assume a special place of honor at the top of the pile.

So…if you’d like to rise to the challenge, and get in on the action, too, or if you read a really good version somewhere, and want to give it its due, please feel free to use the Comments section, below, to take your best shot at this sort of Austen Twitter-Haiku. I promise to check the Comments regularly, and to pluck the ones I like best and put them in what I hope will be an ever-growing list (today I just went back one month).

Without further ado, then, about these little nothings that yet can mean something (You’ve Got Mail, of course), here goes: [last updated 11/16/15]

WTF?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a fortune must be in want of a rollercoaster. @VoxPoppel

'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a fairy in possession of a good appetite must be in want of pie'  @zatyjafry

LOL!


It is a tooth universally acknowledged @hattiehein

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that it is physically impossible to remain sexy while removing one's leggings. @Rachtacular

It is a truth universally acknowledged that opening your email on the wknd guarantees there will be something there to annoy you. @PsycGrrrl

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer drafting an elaborate food scene, must be in want of a meal. @LinseyMiller

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that non-academic articles about Jane Austen will begin "It is a truth universally acknowledged...". @JohnSoanes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a newly-cleaned surface will immediately acquire a cat.  @sparrk

it is a truth universally acknowledged that all Subways smell the same.  @WhereMyWierema

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I hate when ppl don't get my references :-/ @MarniLorenz

It's a truth universally acknowledged that parents of babies cannot enjoy the time change's extra hour.. @AmyCarolReeves

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that whatever you think that Chinese character tattooed on your shoulder says, it doesn't. @KevinNR

Tis a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Or a bottle of bourbon.  @netabuscot

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a pre-nup. @sesbookish


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, will leave the toilet seat up @MarkStevensPD


It is a truth universally acknowledged that within every white wash one black sock shall sneak. @KimeCurran

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a house with a woman living in it will in due course become completely filled with her shoes @ralphharrington

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I never get past the first sentence.

 HMMM…

It is a truth universally acknowledged if you give your characters a happy ending you are not truly a romantic. #Ezolotariov

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when working out in a long row of empty machines in a gym someone will go on the one next to me. @anaisnin

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a student will come to a meeting if you text them instead of emailing them. @TheSimonFraser

It's a truth universally acknowledged that when one doesn't know how to respond to a text, you send a noncommittal emoji @BayAlden

It's a truth universally acknowledged that a white man walking on foot must be in search of a taxi.  @notjjquinn

it is a truth universally acknowledged that books about comedy are utterly and comprehensively humourless @j___barnes

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when someone thanks me for accepting a friend request on FB, I immediately regret adding them. @readandbreathe

A truth universally acknowledged...when you get to your destination Bohemian Rhapsody starts, you don't get out of the car till it's done @dreams_in_blue


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune is no match for a handsome bar of dark chocolate @trishaashley

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a married man in possession of a vast fortune must be in want of a newer, younger wife." @Ravick_BlueLion


it is a truth universally acknowledged that dogs can bring about world peace @captain_tiny

ADDED 11/16/15:


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single tweet in possession of a typo will be retweeted  @shanebazzi

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a universal healthcare bill must be in want of a public option.  @dariustahir

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if your eyeliner turns out perfect on one eye, you're going to spectacularly fuck up the other @literaturelly

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rational human being can never win an argument on twitter. @applecharlottes

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a booklover in possession of many unread books, must be in want of more unread books. @literallyleen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a politician in search of a war is not over-scrupulous with matters of fact.  @DalrympleWill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of good fortune must be in want of a husband, not his money.