Pen and paper's good enough for me, thank you very much!

For professional reasons, I'm now the proud 'owner' of The Chicago Manual of Style (14th edition, last updated 1993). Sources inform me that this is one of the most authoritative sources on writing well, formatting footnotes and building bibliographies.
I'm sure it is, but reading the following passage made me laugh:

"A great many, perhaps a preponderance, of manuscripts are now prepared by computerized word processing. This process not only offers the considerable advantage of greatly facilitating revision, but also provides a much broader range of characters and functions than those offered by even the most sophisticated electronic typewriters. With some computer systems, function keys, combinations of keys, or special codes can be used to enter diacritical marks, non-Latin characters, and math symbols. There are also systems that allow the "remapping" of standard keyboards (alternative keyboard functions) to make it easier to enter text that requires special characters. Such systems may display the alternative keyboard layout on the screen. Not all systems have the capability of displaying all the special characters that have been entered, but in that case it may be possible to gain some reassurance before printout by displaying and verifying the codes for such special characters. Not every printer, moreover, is capable of reproducing all of the characters displayed on the screen, and it may therefore be important to find a printer that is sufficiently versatile. Special characters may sometimes be represented by combinations of standard characters. It is also possible to find software that can create individual special characters and, indeed, complete fonts. Some software packages are capable of setting up tables; such programs can, for instance, produce multiple tabs, make columnar adjustments, perform spreadsheet management functions, and provide vertical as well as horizontal rules."

I'm imagining the author of this wonderful prose as being the proud owner of a bow-tie, a pipe, several vests, countless pencils and a mind that thinks things started going downhill when those long-haired youngsters began wreaking havoc. Someone should gently try to introduce him to the twenty-first century.

Posted by cronopio at 02:24 AM, February 09, 2003