Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

Old Format Archives

New York Times. “Let it forever be remembered that here — on this spot — men and women stood proud, they stood fast, so that we may be who we are, we may work where we will, live where we choose and love whom our hearts desire.” —John Berry, assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior, speaking at the site of the Stonewall Inn of the gay riot there 30 years ago.

New York Times. “It’s their fault. They’re not compliant. They don’t pay attention to hygiene. Why don’t they take a bath before coming in?” —Dentists in a survey about why they are reluctant to treat Medicaid patients.

New York Times. “Beacon is similar to New Jersey. It doesn’t get any respect. But now everyone around the world will know us.” —Mona Scalzo of Beacon, New York, speaking of a 24-foot tall bronze horse recreated in foundry there from Da Vinci sketches.

ACLU. “I arraign approximately one-third of the felony cases in New York County and have no recollection of any defendant in a Port Authority Police Department drug interdiction case who was not either black or Hispanic.” —A New York City Criminal Court judge, in dismissing the charges against an African American woman, from a report on racial profiling.

Christian Science Monitor. “I’ve heard a lot about the Whitewater River and we don’t know if this is a fictional, mythological place or a real place, but I’m hoping it’s a real place and we can do a press conference – live! – right from the Whitewater River.” —Rudy Giuliani describing his travel plans while in Arkansas this July.

Columbus Dispatch. “I can’t put my finger on it but they just look like a bunch of dirt bags.” —A Californian friend of writer Rob Oller describing the Knicks.

New York Magazine. “Hell, no! Open up the window. When we were little, my father would get everybody out of the house, and we’d just go back and forth on the Staten Island Ferry.” —Spike Lee, when asked if his family had air conditioning in 1977.

St. Petersburg Times. “A pack of cigarettes and a lighter sit on a table near Bryan’s bed in his mother’s living room. Even though tobacco caused the cancer now eating through his lungs and liver, Bryan smoked until a week ago, when it became impossible.” [You must see the picture with this story. It may make you ill, however.]

New York Magazine. “You can probably find the same number of drug dealers and prostitutes at the Waldorf-Astoria bar, if you put the kind of effort the NYPD put into this.” —Lawyer Hal Weiner speaking about the bust of his client’s establishment, transvestite bar Club Edelweiss.

New York Magazine. “How about,” said press aide Marty McLaughlin “the front page of every fuckin’ newspaper in the fuckin’ state?” —In response to Ed Koch not knowing what county he was in during the 1982 gubernatorial campaign, and wondering about the consequences.

Axiom. “We could still sense Jake Lloyd’s wooden acting right through the plastic cassette. We rate this bootleg completely unwatchable. Avoid it at all costs.” —Review of “Phantom Menace” street bootleg bought at Houston and Broadway.

Columbia Journalism Review. “I used to get my porno from sex manuals,” said Ellen Willis, who teaches journalism at New York University, “Now you can get it in the women’s magazines.”

BBC. “Drug resistance is sending us back in history to a time when we lacked medicines to cure some diseases,” said Dr. David Heynman of the World Health Organization, speaking of how just six afflictions account for 90% of all deaths due to infectious diseases.

The Nation. “If RLPA becomes law, an applicant for a job or housing may have no state law protection against having to answer such questions as: Is that your spouse? Are those your children? Are you straight or gay?… Are you HIV-positive?” —Testimony before the House by the ACLU about the so-called Religious Liberty Protection Act.

Modern Maturity. “By the time a movie is authenticated in The New York Times, it’s accepted as a wonderful work. Then if my review says, ‘This is a pathetic tissue of moldy ideas,’ it deeply offends those who came out for it.” —Pauline Kael speaking of her career as a movie critic.

New Statesman. “Politics has gone on sale; consumer politics is the real new politics we are buying, not the false new politics of devolution, coalition or proportional representation. A fundamental change is happening. As the century turns, politics as we have long known it has grown too old to rejuvenate. Politics is dead – long live the consumer.” —Noreena Hertz, associate director of the Centre for International Business and Management at the Judge Institute of Management Studies, Cambridge University.

APB Online. “He wears pinstriped suits, but they’re not the best quality,” said Lt. Paul O’Connor of the NYPD’s Robbery Squad, talking about a serial sartorial shop robber who also reportedly wears pink and blue suede shoes.

San Antonio Express-News. “Toughness — that’s what New York City ball is all about,” said NYC native but San Antonio Spurs star Mario Elie. “Toughness and going to the basket hard. Trying to dunk on somebody. Finish the play, talking trash.”

Anchorage Daily News. “Sure, people would have loved to see him picking up trash, but that doesn’t really give anything back to the community,” said Michael Chalos, lawyer for Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood, who “donned an apron and latex gloves Tuesday morning to work at an Anchorage soup kitchen” as part of court-ordered punishment.

New York Daily News. “It’s something worth being proud about, as long as you don’t exclude all else. An awful lot of ‘Irish’ musicians are actually German.” —Elvis Costello, speaking of playing Irish music at the Guinness Fleadh on Randalls Island tomorrow.

New York Daily News. “They say you could hear the screams of the children above the crackle of the fire,” one Albanian resident said of 20 people — said to be mostly women and children — who were killed and torched in the garden behind a wine shop in Djakovica, Kosovo.

New York Daily News. “She wouldn’t have to worry. Our black flies are pretty particular about who they bite,” said Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon about a comment a Clinton adviser made that the First Family shouldn’t vacation in “fly-infested Adirondacks Park.”

Bergen Record. More than 320 athletes from as far as Tahiti are expected to compete Saturday in the third annual World Outrigger Championship, a 15-mile outrigger canoe race in Upper New York Bay that passes around the Statue of Liberty.

Investment News. “In the last three months, I’ve talked with a 60-year-old retired stockbroker who invested his $5 million pension in sexy Internet stocks and has just $100,000 left. I’ve talked to a housewife who lost her children’s college tuition. I’ve counseled a 27-year-old who works in the brokerage field and wiped out $40,000 that he and his wife had saved. They have a seven-month-old; he was ready to kill himself.”

Arab Ambassador. “We are listed next to New York Times and CNN on many web sites.”

[It’s like a visiting copier repairman sneaking into the staff photo.]

Forward. “As much as I have sympathy and empathy for the families and the victims who are being persecuted by Iran, the fact is that Iran should be made to understand that the United States speaks with one official voice, and that it cannot go around the official U.S. government to curry favor with freelance diplomats.”

Bergen Record. ” ‘Word is circulating here in Westchester that you may be shopping for a home,’ Mayor Timothy Idoni said Tuesday in a letter to the first lady. ‘Nothing would make us happier than welcoming you and the president to our family.’ “

Red Herring. “As New York’s media world becomes increasingly entangled with Internet startups and the venture community, this is the message being spread to entrepreneurs: look for a deal that gives you intellectual and business capital, in addition to cash.”

San Antonio Express-News. “Mitchell explained that even though the names are the same, Michigan has its own Coney Island hot dogs. The ‘real ones’ are made with Koegel Vienna hot dogs. ‘They’re in regular casings. They snap when you bite into them,’ she said.”

New York Times. “She added that Adam had run off to Manhattan last spring for several days. Asked why, she said, ‘You get hormones racing.’ ”

[This is why everyone comes to the city.]

New York Times. “These pants are a reaction to how people live now. This whole trend in pockets specifically responds to the idea that when you leave the house these days, there are a lot more things you need to carry with you.”

New York Times. “No bodies. No bulbous heads. No secret autopsies. No spaceship. No crash. No extraterrestrials or alien artifacts of any sort. And most emphatically of all, no Government cover-up.”

Breakup Girl. ” ‘I’ve solved the mystery!’ BG gasped of Salad McBeal, who, she reported, attempted to eat an entire plate of plain lettuce with her hands. ‘She has too many people coming up to her — friends and fans — and she’s nice to them all! She doesn’t eat because she can’t! She can’t get a bite in edgewise!’ So leave Calisteeny alone in person, you all, and then maybe we’ll be able to leave her alone in the press.”

The Shadow. “The FCC’s attempt to shut down Steal This Radio is part of a nationwide crack- down on micropower radio in an effort to silence community groups accessing the airwaves for non-commercial cultural, so- cial and civic purposes. In recent months, the FCC has stepped up its attack on unlicensed stations across the country. Even so, more than 1,000 micro-broadcasters are currently on the air nationwide.”

Starmedia. “Una música tan mexicana y masculina como el mariachi celebró el décimo aniversario de su principal festival californiano en medio de un canto a la diversidad no sólo racial sino sexual.” A weak translation: “The very Mexican and masculine music ‘mariachi’ celebrated the tenth anniversary of its main Californian festival in the medium of a song to diversity, not only racial, but sexual.”

Forward. “A decades-long struggle between the Chasidim and the Hispanics of Williamsburg over access to low-cost public housing is coming to a head amid accusations that the Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. has been orchestrating a campaign against one of the poorest Jewish communities in the city. The battle is intensifying even as public housing lists for projects in WiDiamsburg have become virtually Judenrein — devoid of any Jews — and qualified Chasidim are being shut out of the projects. Yet partisans of the Brooklyn Legal Services Corp., which is federally subsidized insist it is playing a legitimate role in siding against the Chasidim within the community in the struggle over housing.”

Salon Magazine. “At this point in Net history it should be almost too obvious to say this, but the lesson still demands repeating: In the online world, you can’t make users do what they don’t want to do just because it happens to be convenient for your business. You have to let them do what they want to do — then align your business in such a way that what they want to do benefits you, too. The latest enterprise to suffer for failing to follow this principle is Divx — Circuit City’s foolish scheme to create a digital video format that metered usage of home movie watching. Divx evoked little actual customer enthusiasm and lots of howls of protest and outrage; all it had going for it was a fervent wish on the part of Circuit City and its Hollywood partners that people would adopt it. When Circuit City pulled the plug on Divx last week, there were few mourners among the general public.”

Linux Resources.”Yes, there were a few belligerent types. Typical was one guy who observed that Oracle has a partial open-source strategy, then triumphantly announced that Microsoft’s earnings per employee are several times Oracle’s, as though this were a conclusive argument on the technical issues. It was kind of amusing, really, fielding brickbats from testosterone-pumped twentysomethings for whom money and Microsoft’s survival are so central that they have trouble grokking that anyone can truly think outside that box. On some subjects, their brains just shut down—the style reminded me a lot of the anonymous cowards on Slashdot. One of the Microsoft people, who knew the faces in the audience, observed to me afterwards that the people from the NT 2000 development group were particularly defensive. So, yes, I think my insinuations were perturbing.”

Le Monde Diplomatique. “At this early stage, if this really had been a “moral war”, close-range protection of the civilian population in Kosovo should have been provided by an international policing force under the UN, as proposed at the time. Of course, it is not the job of NGOs to go round acting as military strategists. But they are fully entitled to assert moral principles. If not they, who else has the moral legitimacy to do so?”

New York Observer. “The besieged computer maker’s acting chief executive, Benjamin Rosen, disclosed that Compaq would report as much as a 15-cent-per-share loss for the second quarter ending June 30, versus Wall Street’s consensus forecast of a 22-cents-per-share profit for the period… The collective look of dumb stupefaction that greeted this announcement on Wall Street wasn’t the result of mere oversight. You don’t just ‘overlook’ or somehow ‘miss’ a $630 million swing to the negative in a company’s earnings in a mere 90-day period.”

Nando Times. “When he started nailing $100 bills to the wall and hanging pictures on them and driving my mother to the supermarket and driving away, we started to realize, `Uh, oh, trouble.”‘

Village Voice. “They told me to shut up and told my student to get out… Here I am having a physical exercise session and the vice squad comes in with guns drawn to arrest someone doing shiatsu. I mean, this woman comes to work on a bicycle with a backpack and wearing Birkenstocks, and they sent five people to nail her in a sting. When I asked the cops what they were doing, what were they looking for, they said, ‘We do quality of life crimes.’”

David Letterman. “On the Campaign Trail: Hillary Rodham Clinton is exploring a run for New York’s Senate seat. According to the latest polls, she now has a slight edge in the poll over that dead subway guy.”

Been Done: Time to expire these tired devices: “Enter [some noun that solves problem described in previous paragraph].” “Call it [some phrase the writer just coined and hopes will catch on because nothing else in his portfolio will.]” (Such as this). “Read: [some rephrasing of the previous paragraph the writer believes is clever and coy, but in reality is is faulty and weak.]

Boston Globe. “Giuliani publicly anticipates some magical Ken Starr report that may turn out to be Godot; he screams ‘carpetbagger’ to the wind and joins in the ‘why is she doing this?’ psychobabble. Little things – education, health care, transportation, and housing – he leaves to Mrs. Clinton.”

New York Daily News. “‘Cleen-ton! Cleen-ton!’ and ‘U.S.A.! U.S.A.!’ many in the crowd of 9,000 chanted as the President, accompanied by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea, waved and smiled.”

[People everywhere call him “Beel Cleenton.” Probably more than don’t.]

New York Post. “My wife Columba feels horrible about it. I can assure you, it’s been a difficult few days at our house. She knows what she did was wrong – that she made a mistake – and I love my wife more than I love life. This is doubly difficult for her because she shuns the limelight, which is why I love her. I do not want a political wife.”

Food: Frank serves excellent Italian meals in cramped quarters on Second Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. Inexpensive, plus Cuban music on the stereo.

Been Done: Yet another article about prostitutes in Southeast Asia. This stopped being interesting in 1993. While we’re here: everyone can stop using “sea change” now, too.

Salon Magazine. “What I found the most hair-raising in Rock’s monologue, and which I’ve encountered a bit of lately in other venues, is that there is a recent public trend of black people, in a relaxed fashion, outspokenly and without malice, talking about how much they hate whitey… This hatred is well deserved and understandable, I reckon, but it will make you just the slightest bit uncomfortable if it is being brazenly acknowledged by a beloved comedian and you are one of 15 white people in the entire sold-out Apollo Theatre in Harlem. We weren’t nervous, everyone was perfectly nice to us, nobody mad-dogged us at the bar, but there was definitely a ‘one of these things just doesn’t belong here’ vibe. It wasn’t scary, but it was a real eye-opener. Harlem is a real eye-opener. As robust and fierce-humored and vivid as the inhabitants are, if you have any kind of sensitive, bleeding heart, Harlem will bust it right in the chops and knock your privileged liberal worldview sideways: It’s just so goddamned poor. Even the walls of the legendary Apollo are peeling.”

[A white person all alone in the big black Harlem! You mean it was only you and all the tourists? Harlem hasn’t been the battleground and crime haven it once was, if it ever was, for many years, and it ain’t that poor. South Bronx, maybe. Mississippi, probably. Harlem is wealthy, compared. Also, shouldn’t it be “one of these things is not like the other”?]

New York Times. “City figures indicate that a record 221 films were shot in New York last year, generating $2.57 billion in economic activity. It was the fifth straight record-breaking year. The number of days films were shot in New York increased by 50 percent over the past five years, and direct expenditures on filmmaking have risen 78 percent. Over the last year alone, the number of prime-time television series filmed in New York climbed to 10 from 6. But New York has only 600,000 square feet of sound stages for major productions, Ms. Scott said, while Los Angeles has about 3.7 million.”

Food: Good World, a Scandinavian restaurant at 3 Orchard Street in a former barbershop just off Allen, deserves a mention. The skagen, cold herring and new potatos are yummy. Will they have a kreftskiva in August?

New York Observer. “He’s done something that’s really interesting. At the end of every game, he gives the most reasonable of interviews. I’m almost convinced he’s been coached, that there’s a sinister P.R. person behind this who’s told him, Never raise your voice. And he’s good. He seems like a very decent guy. My 10-year-old son adores him. No one wants to bring up the choking incident anymore. If it is an act, we’re going to find out before too long.”

Drink: I’ve been liking this place called Saint Alp’s on Mott Street in Chinatown, just south of Bayard. Cool cold teas, shakes, drinks in all these Asian flavors. It’s gonna be the rage soon, I bet. There were a couple of news blurbs in the window and the shop was packed with hip Chinese kids. There’re tapioca pearls in the bottom of the drinks, and the give you fat straws. Interesting, kinda weird. I had lychee on the first visit, a green barley shake on the second. The shakes are thin, but tasty.

Toys: Scored a Apple 20-inch monitor and an Apple Power Macintosh 8500/120 with 80 MB RAM and a 1 GB hard drive for $375 total at Argo Electronics on Canal Street, best junk shop of its kind in Manhattan. Needs a keyboard and CD-ROM, but everything else works fine. They were offloading a truck while I was there, about 30 monitors of all sizes and the same number of CPUs. Everything seems to be cast-offs from JP Morgan; they didn’t wipe the hard drives.

San Antonio Express News. “They believe, somehow, that all high culture is truncated on the East Coast and it never makes it to the hinterland. They have a hard time understanding the distribution of culture all over the United States. They’re very much behind the times. They fail to comprehend we’re in an electronic world and there’s been a massive dissemination of information all over the world.”

The Nation. “You’re 19, single, on welfare. You breast-feed your baby because you know breast is best. When the baby fails to gain weight, your mother says not to worry, you were even smaller at that age. Twice you take the baby to your Medicaid HMO for checkups, but you’re turned away: The baby’s Medicaid card hasn’t arrived in the mail yet. Finally, after two months, you rush the baby to the hospital, but it’s too late; the baby, now weighing barely five pounds, dies in the taxi. A tragedy, surely, but manslaughter?”

New York Times. “Supporting each Web site and every transaction is a huge technological undertaking that can involve hundreds of computers, thousands of miles of network cable, hundreds of software programs and dozens of engineering employees, some of whom are upgrading systems on the fly. There are numerous points of vulnerability, ranging from the failure of multimillion-dollar mainframes, to programming errors, seemingly innocuous software glitches or human stumbles. The site of, for instance, a Web site used by hundreds of thousands of customers to prepare and file taxes, crashed on April 11 when a $200 network circuit card failed and in another instance in March because an employee tripped on a power cord.”

New York Times. “Considering bulls are not indigenous to the five boroughs, this is an odd one.”

City Journal. “One weekend in the late eighties, when he was serving as duty captain in upper Manhattan, he arrived at a crime scene where cops had arrested two drug dealers, one of whom had tried to flee to an apartment. The deputy chief helped the cops secure search warrants for the apartment and a safe they found inside it—which contained drugs, cash, and weapons. The next day, the borough commander—’apoplectic with rage,’ the deputy chief recalls—called him in to yell at him for seeking a warrant. ‘It’s people like you who cause problems in the department,’ the commander roared.”

Granta. “I still haven’t found the answers. Is there something within which revolts against being pinned down, which yearns for yet another metamorphosis? There is a disease associated with clothes which is like the gambler’s neurosis: the belief that out there, there is just one more purchase to make and you will finally find the one, true, right outfit, the one by which you will be both transformed and restored to yourself; you will be undisputably the fairest one of all and, at last, the real, essential you. Crooked shall be made straight, bumps shall be smoothed. Fastened into that belief, the Wandering Dresser is condemned to the torments of an eternal adolescence.”

The Weekly. “It took me a few moments to realise what was so odd about him. He was articulating his emotions. He hadn’t sighed, he’d said, ‘Sigh.’ Instead of being surprised, he’d said, ‘Gasp.’ I had no doubt that if I hit him, he’d say, ‘Ow.’ I hit him. He said, ‘Ow.’”

New York Post. “After years of psychotherapy disguisedas pedagogy, ignorance is now buoyed byself-esteem – which makes studentsmore resistant to remediation since theydon’t believe there’s a problem. It’s a freshman writing assignment I give every semester: Respond in your journals to the following quotation: ‘Religion is the opiate of the masses.’ After the students copy the words into their notebooks, I ask them to name the author. I do this now out of a mixture of curiosity and masochism; very likely, none of them will know. In the 10 years I’ve been assigning the quotation, only five students have immediately identified Karl Marx as the author – and all five were foreign students. So as usual, in the semester just ended, after the initial silence, I offered them a hint: The author was German.”

Los Angeles Times. “‘Many of the people I see mistake desire for necessity,’ says Paul Hauck, a psychologist in Rock Island, Ill., who has treated incontinent anger for 45 years. ‘They demand sex, they demand attention, they demand that no one cut them off in their car. Well, look, don’t tell me no one should hit your car. That’s nonsense. Why can’t someone hit your car? … Once you stop making all these demands on reality, the anger dissolves.’”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Hungarian is delicious, but the servings can kill you. The word for ‘credits’ is K sz netnyilv n t s. And it has 17 case endings — 34, if you count plural. Up the Danube a ways, Bohemian words mesmerize you but often lack vowels, as in the impossible phrase ‘Strc prst skrz krk’ (‘stick a finger in your throat’). The Surgeon General has determined that Czech is hazardous to your larynx.”

Boston Book Review. “Before examining Tattersall’s argument, it would help to identify the current reigning schools with which he disagrees. He finds fault with strict Darwinians, who believe the human brain evolved because it served some kind of useful function; Tattersall would call the brain an exaptation (after the term introduced by Gould and Vrba in 1982), denoting a structure which arose and became useful only after its development.”

New York Magazine. “Geng also wrote brutal rejection letters, periodically accused her charges (Philip Roth included) of being asleep while writing, and once casually dismissed one of Frazier’s pieces in a five-word sentence: ‘I never read Bible parodies.’”

New York Times. “Years ago, there was a 9- or 10-day turnaround after an artist turned in a record; now it takes 9 to 10 months because the record labels can’t handle the traffic and need a year to set up their marketing and promotion systems,” said Chuck D of Public Enemy, a pioneering rap group that left a major label in January and will release its next record through an Internet company called Atomic Pop. “If the majors cannot adapt to change, they become solely banking systems. If they could sell Brillo pads with a slice of cheese on them, they’d do that, because the music is irrelevant to them.”

Salon Magazine. “One reason for the disconnect, argues Andrew Ross, who chairs the American studies department at NYU, is how the media handles race. Ross notes that when white suburban kids go wrong, there’s enormous pressure to find a psychological cause rather than a social explanation. “‘White suburban kids are assumed to have an individual psychic development that can be sidetracked into dysfunctional forms of expression, if there is some sufficiently powerful external stimulus — a video game, a lurid Web site — that can knock them off course.’ But when it comes to inner-city black kids, ‘the explanations are assumed to be socially determined from the get-go.’ By the media’s lights, ‘Society explains their behavior in a way that strips them of their individuality and retains only their class and race attributes’ — which is why video games are never trotted out to explain homicide in inner-city schools. In the end, says Ross, the pattern is distinctly American: ‘Since the early days of the republic, it has also been an elementary rule of public life for grandstanding experts and gatekeepers to hold popular culture responsible.’

Salon Magazine. “Despite journalism’s propensity to wring its hands over studies and polls, one of the most solemn duties of writers and editors is to disregard your opinion. Publications need to be aware of their readers, but good writing is at heart antidemocratic. A camel, they say, is an animal designed by committee — but at least a camel’s an interesting-looking creature. An Earth populated by democratic ballot would be full of golden retrievers.”

ABC News. “Consider the wording of poll questions. A polling organization asked the following question: Should laws be passed to eliminate all possibilities of special interests giving huge sums of money to candidates? To this 80 percent responded ‘yes,’ 17 percent said ‘no.’ The same organization then posed the question: Do groups have a right to contribute whatever amount they choose to the candidate they support? In this case, only 40 percent said ‘yes,’ while 55 percent answered ‘no.’ Presumably the latter question made the opposing argument.”

Jamie Zawinski. “What we did from 1996 through 1999 was coast along, riding the wave caused by what we did before. Why? Because the company stopped innovating. The company got big, and big companies just aren’t creative. There exist counterexamples to this, but in general, great things are accomplished by small groups of people who are driven, who have unity of purpose. The more people involved, the slower and stupider their union is.”

Cryptonomicon. “Young Americans who leave their great big homogeneous country and visit some other part of the world typically go through several stages of culture shock: first, dumb wide-eyed astonishment. Then a tentative engagement with the new country’s manners, cuisine, public transit systems and toilets, leading to a brief period of fatuous confidence that they are instant experts on the new country. As the visit wears on, homesickness begins to set in, and the traveler begins to appreciate, for the first time, how much he or she took for granted at home. At the same time it begins to seem obvious that many of one’s own cultures and traditions are essentially arbitrary, and could have been different; driving on the right side of the road, for example. When the traveler returns home and takes stock of the experience, he or she may have learned a good deal more about America than about the country they went to visit. “

Nicholas D. Arnett. “As for the long deconstruction of Disney and the rest of Big Media, the viewpoint that amounts to ‘Don’t nobody read no books no more,’ is hard to swallow. Consider’s revenue or the eagerness of book publishers to expand their backlists — out-of-print books, for which demand is rising and technology is answering. Network publishing via mailing lists, web-based discussions and so forth are exploding — people aren’t just reading more, they’re even writing more! People are re-learning the rhetoric of discussion; after participating on-line for a while, even engineers know what ad hominem and straw man arguments are. These are not people who are seduced by Big Media.”

British Medical Journal. “In 1986 I worked on a World Health Organisation assignment in Papua New Guinea. My task was to interview health workers about local prospects for tobacco control. In Goroka, in the eastern highlands, a local doctor told me: ‘The problem here will be that if you try to tell local people that smoking will make them sick, they will want you to show them which cigarette in the pack is the bad one they should discard. They won’t understand the idea of chronic use being the problem.’”

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Grant Barrett