In case you haven't heard, <a href="http://revision3.com/">Revision3</a> COO David Prager Tweeted a bizzaro home invasion at his San Francisco studio this week, which he documented in a <a href="http://twitter.com/dlprager">series of 18 Tweets</a> that resulted in harm to no one, but much bemusement among members of the commentariat.

Michael Hickins, Contributor

March 13, 2009

3 Min Read

In case you haven't heard, Revision3 COO David Prager Tweeted a bizzaro home invasion at his San Francisco studio this week, which he documented in a series of 18 Tweets that resulted in harm to no one, but much bemusement among members of the commentariat.To my knowledge the first person to report on Prager's Tweets was Nick Carlson at Silicon Alley Insider, and the reproduced Tweets have spread across the blogosphere faster than strep throat at a day care center.

The vicarious way we've been able to observe the episode is a lot like the famous O.J. Simpson white Bronco car chase. Everyone remembers watching it live on TV, but most people only watched the same re-run over and over again over dinner and in the weeks and months that followed.

I was living in France at the time, where they never even heard of O.J. or Nicole Brown, and I still have a fake memory of watching it live.

So it is with this Twitter stream, 18 bursts of virtual reality that relatively few people actually received in real-time but which everyone will remember as having received "as we speak."

Beyond this updated illustration of our ability to distort memory almost instantaneously, this episode also is revealing of something sadly immutable in human nature, which is an acute retributive instinct.

As far as I'm concerned, David Prager is a hero. I would love to meet the man with enough sangfroid (that's French for cojones) to Tweet and to even set up a Ustream of the event, all while reflecting on the relative degree of danger in which he found himself.

Correctly, as it turns out, he figured he wasn't in as much danger as his intruder was most likely disoriented or even deranged.

He wasn't unreasonable; he did arm himself, although in as nonconfrontational a manner as possible, so as to not unduly provoke his "visitor."

Sadly, the commentary almost uniformly has taken him to task for his behavior. One comment to Nick's report read, "too many zeros, not enough ones." Funny. Another was less amusing and more representative: "Girlfriend needs to rethink this relationship, time to find a man maybe?"

But the most uncomprehending and despicable remarks come from the media.

Hamilton Nolan at Gawker begins his post by claiming that technology has "officially rendered us totally incapable of normal human action."

It hasn't occurred to Nolan that there is actually no such thing as "normal human action."

Be that as it may, unofficially then, I believe the moment we became "incapable of normal human action" occurred when Western civilization ignored the desperate pleas coming from Nazi concentration camps.

Later in his transcript, Nolan can't contain his snark in describing the moment Prager confronts his intruder with a camera, writing, "at this instant American manhood reached his nadir."

I wish that, rather than revisiting the hoary cliché of the red-blooded American Male, Nolan had taken a moment to reflect on the possibility that Prager is, in fact, the embodiment of the kind of scientific curiosity without which true discovery is impossible.

Prager's demonstration of courage in the pursuit of knowledge belongs in the same, albeit slightly less portentous, category as that which led Marie Curie to discover radiation at peril to her life.

Prager's courage also reflects another value we should applaud, which is compassion.

Witnessing the fury of invective and bloodthirsty calls for Bernie Madoff's head, the utter lack of compassion, the refusal to reflect on whether our wealth-obsessed culture has any responsibility to bear in this affair, I think we need a little more of Prager's courage, and a lot less of Nolan's observations.

American manhood may not have exactly reached its apex with this Twitterisode, but it is surely closer with Prager than with Nolan.

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