Julian Dibbell on 23 Oct 2000 22:08:18 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] A Tale of Two Spellings

[A remarkable document from Tony Long, the copy chief of Wired News,
announcing that the news service is abandoning the nonhyphenated spelling of
"e-mail" and with it, in effect, the California Ideology. Makes a pretty
good case, moreover, for the connection between the two, which isn't such a
stretch as you might think. More formidable regimes have been brought down,
in their final, decadent moments, by less consequential events. At any rate,
as a longtime copyeditor myself, I can tell you that the placement of a
hyphen is, like all house-style rules, pretty much entirely an ideological
decision. Tony Long here ably argues the point himself, and never mind his
claim that the hyphenation of "e-mail" was ultimately for the sake of
clarity. The appeal to clarity is to copyeditors what rocks are to
Palestinians -- the only available argument the powers that be will take
seriously. Hyph on, brother man!]