Wednesday, April 12, 2017

If I Were King Of The Forest --

In the preface to a book on Ottoman history written in English, the author assures the reader that, "because of the book's target audience," (with very few exceptions) the bibliography contains only items written in English. In the very same paragraph he lavishes praise on the extraordinary multilingualism of some of the bibliographies of the items in his bibliography and urges the reader to check them out.

No book or article was ever improved by taking footnotes out or restricting the bibliography along linguistic lines. Just one example: suppose a student whose first language was French took a college course in which this book was read, and that many of the items the authors eliminated from his bibliography were in French. I'm telling you, both of those things are not just supposin', they're both pretty much guaranteed, and it makes me sad.

A headline says that while Pearl Jam may not be cool, they're great. I'm so uncool that I never until now suspected that Pearl Jam was anything other than possibly too cool.

After 14 pages (6 pages of preface and 8 pages of Chapter 1), a book claiming to be an introduction to information theory explains what information theory is. I'm thinking this explanation belongs right at the beginning of the preface, since this is (supposedly) a book for people who haven't yet been introduced to information theory.

"The Day-Date continues to be the watch par excellence of influential people." Actual quote from I'm thinking that would be more accurate if "influential" was replaced with "insecure." For a lot of Rolex wearers, if the people they're trying to impress don't know how much their Rolex cost, or, worse, don't even notice at all that they're wearing Rolexes, then all of that money was pretty much wasted.

On the other hand, some people laugh at Rolex wearers for only wearing Rolexes to try to impress others, but they secretly want a Rolex so bad, and the only reason they don't have one is they're afraid of being laughed at by watch snobs like themselves, and that's even sillier than wearing a watch only to impress others. (The only sane reason to wear any watch: because you -- not anybody else at all. YOU -- like it. Because YOU think the watch is cool. That's the only sane reason amid all of this madness.)

I'm beginning to think that there may be very few people who share my literary and artistic tastes and my political views and my interests in watches. It might be fewer than few, maybe no-one shares all that with me. I noticed this year that the Leipzig Book Fair and Baselworld overlapped for a couple of days. The more I look into these things, the harder it is to imagine anyone excited by one of these events who has even heard of the other. Oh well, someone's got to be first at everything. Give me a Nobel Prize please, thank you.

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