Thursday, March 31, 2005


UPDATE: Technically a "slash" is a "frontslash," so technically saying "C colon slash program files slash..." is incorrect too; however, somehow that's not so hard on my ears as hearing lots of "frontslashes" when clearly "backslash" is what you mean...

So far I've really enjoyed Al Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, which I've been listening to in audiobook form, which is read by the author, which is another treat. It has been fair and balanced. I recommend it. I really do.

However, today Al Franken disappointed me. This is going to seem anal, but he and his team of Harvard researchers ("Team Franken" -- some 12 or 14 Harvard undergrads and grads in a seminar that worked on researching the book) should know better.

/ is a FRONTSLASH. It leans "FORWARD" to the right.

\ is a BACKSLASH. It leans "BACKWARD" to the left.

If you're still confused, just say SLASH and the person you are talking to, who is smarter than you, will use your context to figure it out for herself.

You see, when you say:
ayche tee tee pee backslash backslash double-u double-u double-u dot web site dot com backslash with backslash some backslash stuff backslash after it dot ayche tee em el
YOU SOUND LIKE AN ASSHOLE. So stop that. (see Erin? This is something I wouldn't have even noticed if I actually READ the book. Hearing him read it gave a whole new dimension to it)


Spice said...

I enjoyed Franken's book a lot as well, but found something else to be irked by. At some point he's discussing school vouchers and tries to 'discredit' a study by a professor I know that found some benefits to vouchers - and the study he used to discredit it was some random article in a journal I'd never heard of. Although I don't actually agree with the pro-voucher position, I kind of expected that he would use one of the many reputable studies that find no voucher effects. I felt like it highlighted the problem with using a team of undergrad researchers - they were just looking for anything that would disprove a point without an understanding of what is considered good research by political scientists.

Theo said...

Yeah, I got through the school vouchers part a day or two ago -- I was thinking the whole thing seemed a little shotty. It may have been that I was just paying attention to my driving more then, but the section just didn't resonante with me well. I thought it could be more clear. I don't know much of the literature, but I figured he could have come up with better examples because lots and lots of people have had a say on this subject. Instead I thought nearly all of his references were a bit obscure.

Right now I'm about 2:20 hours into the second part. He just happened to mention something about one of the 20-year-old members of Team Franken. There's a reason why in real research there a very few 20-year-old research assistants... even if they are from Harvard.

When he introduced "Team Franken" at the start of the book, I figured this was a graduate-level seminar, but even then how could they possibly have enough time in one quarter to do really a "book-worth" of research? But then you find out he's using primarily undergrads... It's all a little silly.

So maybe it's not so fair and balanced. Maybe it's more entertainment. Every time he makes fun of Gingrich's mistresses ("kidding on the square") it leans that way anyway...