It is a sad, neurotic activity. (A cross of twiddle and titter.) Repetitive, compulsive, hyper-caffeinated. The behavior of the sleep-deprived and the shell-shocked. A trauma-victim’s nervous tick. The stutterer’s affliction, a source of shame, an embarrassment. A heart murmur. A spasm–a lack of self-control. A self-destruction. The desperate last-ditch effort of the ego. An undignified death.
The totem belongs in a children’s cartoon, or on a box of cereal, the kind with more sugar than fiber or vitamins. A possible narrative, to be deployed in a series of ten-second, five-second, two- or three-second episodes: (1) the children wake up and their breakfast cereal is gone! (2) They try to cook something of substance, but it is too difficult, so they give up. (3) They think they see the cereal box, a tall oblong object on a shelf, but upon closer inspection it is only a book. (4) There is a sound coming from a cell phone. On its screen is the insane blue bird, its pale, inflated head, its lidless, insomniac eyes. The bird has the children’s cereal, only now it’s twice as sugary and with half the nutrients. The bird offers the children all the cereal they want. They beg for it. It’s free! They demand it. The children eat the cereal like a candy.
When they try to tell one another how happy they are to have the cereal, the children are speechless. They can only make a sound. It is the same sound they heard coming from the cell phone. The sound is: tweet.
It is the onomatopoeia of frailty and underdevelopment. A feeble, malnourished, infantile sound. Not a word, a nonsense word. A looking-glass (navel-gazing) tautology of a word. A shrill monosyllable, a void, an absence of context, a signifier without a signified. A pitiful, clueless sound. Tweet. But a supplicating sound. Tweet! A distressful sound. TWEET!