Sunday, September 12, 2004

Really, this is not good enough

Now, I've just spent a good hour composing a long post about the Bush documents, but Blogger had one of its increasingly frequent crappy fits and the lot vanished. So, I'll keep this short.

The fact you can recreate the documents in MS Word is no kind of argument that they were created that way. Why should it be at all remarkable or even interesting that a higher level of technology can replicate a lower level of technology? This is like arguing that, because you can heat your house with central heating as well as with a fire, anyone who says they lit a fire is a liar. (Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo should be especially ashamed of this logic fart) The rightwingnuts who all sprinted off to try it themselves even admit the problem - try this link (tongs recommended).
"I opened Microsoft Word, set the font to Microsoft’s Times New Roman, tabbed over to the default tab stop to enter the date “18 August 1973,” then typed the rest of the document purportedly from the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian."

Well, what a surprise that it turned out to look much the same. After all, what does MSWord do as a default? It produces an A4 page very similar/identical to a letter produced on a typewriter. Where do you think those standard settings originate from? Any Word document produced on a printer capable of producing fonts, on A4 paper, from whichever version of Word, with the same text in, will look much the same and much like the same document typed on a fonted typewriter. There's a reason your keyboard starts QWERTYUIOP. Times New Roman type was introduced in 1931. IBM introduced proportional spacing in 1941, and superscript/subscript type in the 60s. That word processing - a technology whose standard operating assumptions are taken from typewriting - will produce something similar is no proof of anything. (And if you doubt this stuff, then why am I touchtyping, and why do I start hitting the keys like a crazy drummer once the speed picks up?)

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