Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Comments on Eden in Exile

One of the events that got Dawn Eden involved in Christianity was reading The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton. I found that a bit odd since the only specifically Christian part of it was the shift of the week by one day. (Maybe someone who was raised Extremely-Reform would regard it as Christian.) I had a slightly-different take. I read The Man Who Was Thursday in the late 1970s as someone out of step with the era and what I got out of it was the idea, that if you persist, you'll find that the people you thought you were opposing were on your side. This was reinforced not much later when Ronald Reagan was not only elected but even carried such apparently-liberal strongholds like New York and Massachusetts.

I also had a slightly-different reaction to Marshall McLuhan. I was very dubious about the claim that “non-linear” (whatever that means) society had anything to do with media technology. Cathode-ray tubes were the crucial technology that allowed television. I figured that, in a “linear” society, CRTs would show words instead of images. Not long afterward, computers with CRTs started appearing, first as dumb terminals but later as full computers. (When the Macintosh computer came out, I got nervous because it looked like an attempt to revive the '70s. When it became a way to use odd typefaces, I relaxed a little.)

As for the firing, there are reasons some people might object to over-enthusiastic copy editors. I once changed Lennard-Jones to Lennard–Jones and then found that Lennard-Jones was one person. On the other hand, I also changed a scientist's obituary from “He was eager to work with students who wanted to be experiments.” to “He was eager to work with students who wanted to do experiments.” Sometimes copy editors have to make emergency corrections.

An addtional thought: If the editors of The New York Post were trying to make the paper more acceptable to liberals, this is likely to backfire. Much of the antipathy to conservatives in New York is due less to disagreement than to the fear that conservatives will hand the nation over to THEM. (In New York, THEY are usually unreconstructed racists who will revive slavery and burn crosses on synagogue lawns.) As long as New Yorkers thought the people at the Post were sincere, the Post would be judged on the basis of what they print, which isn't that bad even by New York standards. Now that they look like phonies, the obvious conclusion is that the Post has sold out to THEM. Get ready to see every preposterous cliche about conservatives applied to the Post.


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