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And In The U.S., They're Forced To Buy Retail (M. Burtch--Specialist in Courier Font)
(original, computer, chuckle)

I hadn't thought to send this in, but it's getting wide
distribution anyway, so somebody must like it.  Either
that, or technical writers just don't get out enough.


Mateo Burtch (
Sun Microsystems


The Society for Technical Communication (STC) released its
annual Report on the Status of Technical Writers today.  This
report, issued by the STC's Writers' Committee on 
Technical Scribes, monitors the civil and human rights of
technical writers throughout the world and documents abuses
against them.  It also includes a handy quick-reference guide
to basic Fortran compiler options.

Overall, the report noted that the situation for technical
writers the world over is "precarious, and, in many cases, is
worsening rapidly.  In particular, writers in the Third World
routinely live in poverty and squalor."  (The report noted that
this may apply to other people in the Third World as well.)

The report concludes:
	To the twin I-beams of Democracy and Freedom one may
	add those of Technical Accuracy and Good Visual
	Layout.  But these too are threatened by mankind's
	age-old nemeses:  Bigotry . . . Hatred . . . Right
	Justification.  If the human race is not only to
	survive, but to prosper in the heart and in the mind
	and in the soul, technical writers must practice their
	ageless craft unencumbered by fear, privation, or

Some of the highlights of the Committee's report include:

o	Worldwide deaths involving courier font have increased
	9% over the past two years.

o	Canada recently passed legislation making the passive
	voice the national language.

o	In China's remote Dimsum province, oxen are used in
	place of technical writers, with no apparent loss of

o	In North Korea, police departments no longer use electric
	cattle prods to torture dissidents, replacing them
	instead with extremely slow and finicky daisy wheel 

o	The Frame Technology Corporation now touts its product
	as "disposable."

o	Torture of technical writers by roving gangs of
	hooligans known as "editors" is rampant in Northern
	Ireland, where sectarian violence between different
	spellers of "filesystem" runs out of control.  One
	particularly gruesome form of punishment is "chopping":
	holding a writer down and then cutting the dangly
	thing off his cedilla.

o	A similar practice is "stet-ing," the continual removal
	and replacement of chunks of text, leaving the
	writer dazed and confused.  (Or more dazed and confused,
	to be exact.)

o	A worldwide shortage of #2 pencils has left many
	technical writers in poorer countries unable to 
	take notes or doodle during meetings--forcing them
	to pay attention or end the meeting by flinging
	live poisonous insects at the other attendees.

o	The Baath Socialist party of Syria has introduced the
	use of cuneiform stone tablets, which jam PostScript

What can you do?  Lots.  Send a letter to the head of government
of one of the cited countries; include a diagram with mixed fonts
and at least one incorrect cross-reference.  Show them you mean
business.  Or write to the UN High Commissioner on the Status of
Technical Writers, stating that you are categorically opposed to
the use of mustard gas during staff meetings and that you're 
still having problems figuring out which way the darn CD is supposed
to go in.  Or you can have a fundraising party, inviting all your
technical writer friends and promising them that if they give
a donation to Save the Tech Writers you'll cancel the performance
art you had scheduled for the evening.

A copy of the report is available from the Copy Center and
from your local samadzat.

--Mateo Burtch

(c)  1992  Mateo Burtch
Yes, you can forward this; just keep my name attached to it
or I'll publicly link you with Ron Reagan.


(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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