Wearable words

One doesn't like to stare, but people shouldn't wear T-shirts if they don't want them to be read. Who ever thought that the successor to the book would come in small, medium, and large?. Or that Gutenberg's movable type would get quite this movable? Such questions can hardly be avoided when summer begins a new crop of walking literature before the glazed eyes of readers already threatened by information overload.

"Silent Sound" was the total text of a recent work consulted on a pedestrian crossing the street in Boston the other day. More succinct than a three-line haiku from Japan, less detailed than a "War and Peace" from Russia, these three syllables gave as much food for thought as certain best sellers. Which, to be sure, including those which should have been edited for taste and accuracy at the factory.

But there they all are, these wearable words, promoting causes, celebrating institutions, advertising products, cracking jokes, "making statements" -- luring the poor souls who never could resist reading cereal boxes, soup cans, tootpaste tubes, and now these last signs of literacy (silent sounds?) in the age of noisy pictures.

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