|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #42|
The development of writing was as monumental to prosodists as abandoning the gold standard was to economists. Over time, the distinction between poetry and prose became blurred. Today, even poets don't bother to memorize their own work or use mnemonics to facilitate others doing so.
Because handwriting was so laborious, verse continued to dominate prose. Both were well out of the average person's budget, though.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #62|
As our environment became more and more verbose the use and popularity of verse continued to decline. Poetry was dealt its fatal "Et tu, Brute?" wound in the early 1920s, when music became as cheap and easy to disseminate as turning on a radio. The spoken word could no longer contend with song, music being the "value added" in the public's mind. True, verses were still being memorized but these were lyrics and, with few exceptions, clearly subordinate to melody.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #95|
As cost-free radio and television continue to occupy our air waves and sound space, we have the Internet putting humankind's collective intelligence at our fingertips for free (since we needed to connect anyway in order to get our daily fix of cute kittens and puppies). Judging from webzine hit counts sophisticated enough to exclude non-human visitors (e.g. bots, spiders, crawlers, etc.), the rate of online readership is only slightly higher than print outlets. At least the price is right!
Thus, over a span almost as long as language itself, poetry has gone from something more valued than gold to something we cannot even give away.
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