The Gettysburg Address

Sometimes shorter is better. I'm watching Ken Burn's magnificent Civil War program, and was reminded that Lincoln thought the speech was a flop. Although newspapers of the time ridiculed Lincoln's two minutes on the stage, the speaker who preceded him, Edward Everett, who went on for two hours, recognized what Lincoln had done. Praising Lincoln, Everett said Lincoln had, in two minutes, captured what he, Everett, had failed to do in two hours. Lincoln knew the power of words better than most. Why he doubted the effect of his Gettysburg Address is astounding.

Lincoln reminds me that each and every syllable matters. Longer isn't always the way to go. The best ideas can and should be boiled down to their essence, to the finest attenuation we can give them. Let them shine, sparkle, and glitter, and not lose themselves in fluff and feathers.

Think of me fighting the fluff and feathers. It's an ongoing battle.