Monday, April 27, 2009

So much for levity in technical docs

I received this e-mail about a publication I wrote.

I'm reading through the the Tkinter tutorial
and in the "Anchors" section is a discussion
of setting locations using terms such as N
(for north) meaning the top; S (for south)
meaning bottom; E (for east) meaning left
and so forth. Reading on, I found this:
"We apologize to our Southern Hemisphere
readers for this Northern Hemisphere

Last I looked, even in the Southern Hemisphere,
Hemisphere, north on a map is toward the top,
south is toward the bottom, east is toward
the left, etc. (Google a map of Australia,
and you'll find north is up)

While I appreciate that you academics are
whiny PC wimps, I at least would think that
there should be something to apologize FOR
before abasing yourself.

Second, I would have thought a professor in the
in the technical field would be far about [sic]
the stupid PC form of writing.

My reply:

Perhaps you have not seen McArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World.

My remarks about hemispheric chauvinism were a poor attempt at humor. It is my policy, when writing dry technical works, to leaven the leaden prose with the occasional bit of ham-handed levity. I am not actually an academic, but a staff member who holds only a pathetic and superannuated (1970) bachelor's degree in computer science.

I'm currently revising the Tkinter reference for version 8.4, so I will include the above link in the new version in hopes that my joke might not fall so flat.

Thank you for your valuable communication.