February 19, 2013

“Bqhatevwr.”

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Scott Brown (Alex Brandon/Associated Press) Scott Brown (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Politicians are always trying to convince you to believe improbable things. “I was hiking the Appalachian trail.” “My Twitter account was hacked.” “It was my pocket.”

If the tweet “Bqhatevwr” is the work of newly minted Fox News commenter Scott Brown’s pocket, that pocket can give those Shakespeare-writing monkeys a run for their money. It is remarkably eloquent.

I am frankly worried by the properties of Scott Brown’s posterior, a sentence I had hoped to get through life without having to type. I second the concern of Leslie Horn at Gizmodo, who wonders in greater detail about its capacitive properties

Brown noted to a reporter that “the keys are small… it’s very very sensitive.” Well, yes, but as he illustrated by whipping it out, iPhone 5’s don’t have keys, strictly speaking. I think I know what he means — the keyboard of the touch-screen — but — are there fingers in his pants? I ask this question in all seriousness. I only have an iPhone 4, so maybe I am missing something, but I think you need a hand. There are no keys, as with a Blackberry, that you can sit on to send strings of urgent consonants to your ex-boyfriends at 3 in the morning. The screen won’t do anything unless you touch it with your finger or something else capacitive, as anyone who tries to type in winter with gloves on can attest.

Also, he tweeted “Whatever” right afterwards — so — er — what happened exactly? Did his pocket’s spelling improve? Did he pull the phone back out?

I am sorry. It is a slow news day. I am just curious about the mechanics of this. If what he says is accurate, he has a wonderful gift and does not need to pursue politics.

Besides, I think there are a lot of reasonable explanations. I’ve been reading a lot of fairy tales lately, even though most political writers advise against taking work home, and — ever heard of Tom Thumb? Maybe Scott Brown has a tiny elf-like creature who resides in his back pocket, lacks optimal command of spelling, and knows how to unlock his iPhone 5. Or maybe the iPhone has become sentient and decided to start tweeting on its own, as frequently happens to the iPhones of politicians, if not so often to the rest of us. Maybe his iPhone has been secretly in love with Anthony Weiner’s iPhone for years and wanted to send a message to its old friend. And then its spelling improved and it sent several more tweets.

Look, this isn’t a big deal. 

Everyone sends stray tweets. Everyone sends misspelled tweets under the best of circumstances. This is the sort of thing we get absurdly worked up about. It’s only minorly embarrassing if you have an autocorrect failure, or an incident of misguided tweeting, or if your daughter, say, takes control of the phone for a few minutes and things spiral out of control. You don’t even have to be inebriated to send misspelled tweets you later regret. It’s not the offense. It’s the excuse.

False excuses are always so much more detailed. So I was taken aback by the sheer amount of detail in his answer. In general, when you are describing something that actually happened, you do not volunteer flotillas of spare information. If your daughter says, “Kelly and I went to the movie at 8:03 and drank that blue vitamin water that I like so much and then we just — like you do, obviously — got some — chicken? Breaded, from Mama Louise’s Chicken House, on blue plates with little white chickens on them, and by then it was 11:24 which I remember because I have the receipt–” you should call the authorities, because she has probably murdered somebody.

I know this is ridiculous. If we turned this kind of a spotlight on anything else, we’d have solved Benghazi, Libya, and fixed the genome, or something. But they say write what you know. And I know pocket-dials.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.