February 23, 2010 in M
Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s popular saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” was validated during the latter half of the 20th century after Lazlo Biro patented the ball-point pen. The veracity of the bon-mot can be proven in graph form if the rise of the disposable biro is charted against the decline in the popularity of sword-carrying amongst the general population. Early in the 21st century however the expression was struck from popular records thanks to Ernst Gruber, a German technology blogger and fantasy-film enthusiast. Gruber entered into a heated discussion with poet and luddite Hans Flisk over the general value to society of those who used twitter. What began as a genial if pointed discussion soon turned to verbal abuse before weapons were drawn. Flisk produced a four-colour bic and was reportedly astonished when Gruber brandished a large broadsword. Witnesses later recalled Flisk quoting Bulwer-Lytton’s famous saying although they noted he did so from behind a nearby pillar. The satirist apparently set out to prove the validity of his arguement and the power of his biro, by penning a scathing piece of prose called “Twits who tweet”. Gruber’s sword however was no ordinary weapon. He had adapted the handle with a keypad, screen and wi-fi which in effect turned it into a combination weapon/blackberry. He had christined it the Broadband Sword and before Flisk could proofread his composition, Guber had twittered his 12,000 followers with 140 characters of vitriol about his opponent’s sexuality. After a moment of inspiration, Flisk penned a haiku which the person he showed it to described as: “Probably funny but essentially illegible”. Gruber meanwhile had updated his blog with a hastilly typed post called “Satirist doesn’t materrist” which was immediatly hyperlinked by his network of friends all around the world. Experts believe Flisk’s next move would have been to use his considerable artistic skills to sketch a caricature of his opponent, most likely lampooning the latter’s noticeable overbite. Sadly this can only ever be speculation as Gruber’s final act of the conflict was to sever Flisk’s hands at the wrist and beat him with the flat of his sword as he bled to death. Devotees of the work of Flisk gather annually to mourn his loss and always gain a small measure of satisfaction from the knowledge that as he left, Gruber slipped on Flisk’s biro and fractured his pelvis.
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