As a professional writer, there is nothing worse than finding out that someone else has written material similar to your own, and has gotten his work to the marketplace before yours. This can make your own project die an early death. Even if you have spent three grueling years writing your homo-erotic thriller about two Roman gladiators, thinking this is the most unique concept ever devised, if you read in the trades that Michael Chabon has just sold “Claudius and Octavius: The Forbidden Dance,” to Random House, you know the gig is up.
It is why so many writers end up drinking.
For the last two months, I have been hard at work on a secretive writing project that I intended to unveil to the world — today. I picked today because as an experienced blogger, I know today was the beginning of Hollywood award season, a primo time to grab attention on Twitter with clever wit. So, I was going to be ready for Golden Globes Award night with my secret project — the unveiling of the best snarky tweet that has ever been seen on the blogosphere.
For two months, I worked, preparing. I knew that if the stars were aligned correctly that night (and we all know how difficult that is nowadays with zodiac signs changing their position every year), I could use my online wit to make it into the newspapers. From there, your entire career can skyrocket. I hate to brag, but you do remember my mention in the Sunday Times of London in 2007 for my blog post about the that year’s Oscars ceremony don’t you? (that’s the freakin’ London Times, which makes me the equivalent of blogging’s Colin Firth!). (Oh, I have mentioned this article before. You mean a 100 times before? Oh, well.)
But now it is 2011. The action has moved from blogging to Twitter. If you want to make it in today’s world, you have to be witty in 140 characters. Brevity and sarcasm are key to most good tweets. People love it. Whenever I say something funny, I get more followers. Whenever I say something unfunny, like “What a crappy day. I am feeling depressed,” those exact same folks drop me like a hot potato. So it is important — at least on Twitter — to always be cocky, clever, and a little snooty. It is the method that seems to work best.
As I mentioned, knowing how important award season is online, I began writing my killer Golden Globe tweet back in November. I believe writing is rewriting, so I wanted enough time to expand on my concept. When the Golden Globe presenter announcements were made last month, I devised a list of celebrity/presenters, and matched them with appropriate jokes. I eventually narrowed my list down to a few select Hollywood actresses who either deserved to be mocked, or who gave me a strong opportunity to make a unique pun. After two months of grueling work, I finished my masterpiece tweet, which was to be published online on Twitter at the exact moment Jennifer Love Hewitt appeared on the red carpet before the show.
Here is my award-winning tweet:
“Hey, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Nice dress. Now we know why the show is called the Golden Globes.”
Isn’t that terrific? A perfect combination of sophisticated humor and “Hollywood insider” subtlety. I could imagine my followers howling with laughter — and I mean everyone — from the Ivy League educated career woman to the housewife who never went beyond high school, from the Beverly Hills mom in her Prada dress to the Walmart shopping divorcee from New Orleans. The tweet was so clever that I knew it would cut across all economic, racial, political, and religious divides, uniting a hurting country through laughter.
I turned the television on at 5PM as the red carpet ceremony began. The regular wits had already begun their work. Someone made a joke about latest Joan Rivers surgery. There were numerous boos and hisses over the Helena Bonham Carter’s dress. Some of these tweets were somewhat amusing, but I understood them to be written by lazy amateurs, spitting out one-liners without any knowledge of Twitter craft.
And then, Jennifer Love Hewitt approached the red carpet. As expected, she was wearing a tight dress that showed off her bosom. It was my time to shine, for me to bring Twitter to a halt with my amazingly snarky tweet. Would all of the Twitter servers be able to handle the thousands and thousands of retweets after I wrote my comment?
And then it came — a second before I was about to press publish — another tweet, written by a simple homeschooling mom with only 200 followers — I forget her name because I immediately unfollowed her:
“It looks like Jennife Luv Hewit has two big Golden Gloves as bewbs!”
This tweet didn’t get much of a reaction, for obvious reasons. She spelled Jennifer Love Hewitt’s name incorrectly. Worse, saying “two big Golden Gloves (sic) as bewbs,” ruins the concept. Let the audience put it together! Most readers would understand that the Golden Globes is a euphemism for her “bewbs.” If you say it out loud, it is insulting, and even worse — unfunny.
After this disaster, I was unable to publish my tweet. Even thought my tweet was 5000x more superior, a James Joyce’s “Ulysses” of a tweet compared to her Snooki, others would have called me a “copycat.” Other jealous bloggers out to destroy me would say I “steal tweets” and my reputation as a genius twitterer would be forever sullen.
So, while many actors, directors, and writers were honored tonight for their creative achievements, I will forever remember tonight as a sad one for the artistic world. It was the night that never saw “the wittiest, most snarky, most creative Golden Globes tweet ever written, that surely would have brought Twitter to her knees.”