Tag Archives: Stephen Colbert

I converted to Word.

It finally happened:  I converted from WordPerfect to Word.  Like my father, I was an early-adopter-never-let-goer.   I first worked on a commercial word processing program in Taiwan in 1984, when I was a translator at Lee & Li and learned the proprietary Wang word processing system.  (IIRC, Swarthmore in 1983 had a student-created system available on terminals in the computer center.  It was a huge improvement over my Smith-Corona and Wite-Out strips, and I wrote my thesis on it when I could reserve time.  Still didn’t top my Dad’s late 1970s adoption — and never-let-go-tion — of the Lexitron.)

I came back from Taiwan to go to law school in 1985 and acquired the then top-of-the-line approximately-the-size-of-a-lawnmower IBM PC.  I had heard that a program called MultiMate mimicked the Wang program, so I was determined to buy and install it.  My mother — thanks, Mom! — talked me out of that and into WordPerfect.  Thus began a 29-year relationship that only ended this year with my inevitable assimilation to the Borg:  Microsoft Word.

Top reasons for assimilation:

4.  Annoyed co-counsel (“the formatting in the Word version is all effed up!”)

3.  Awkward emails to opposing counsel (“we draft in WordPerfect, but send us your changes on the pdf version and we’ll incorporate them”).

2.  Track changes!!!!

But my favorite feature is

1.  Comment boxes.

I started using them as they are supposed to be used:  to expound on tracked changes or make a general comment on a section of text.  Now they’ve become sort of like “The Word” in the Colbert Report:

Image: Screen grab from the Colber Report with Stephen Colbert making air quotes while the word "Truthiness" appears off to the side.

a way of letting my id come out while drafting a brief, one that entertains me as I write but that is easy to delete and sanitize before I file.

Image:  a Word comment box reads, "I need a better word.  "Revealed to be bullshit" didn't seem quite right."

or even

Image:  Word comment box that reads "Ha ha!  Fuck you [opposing counsel]!"

I miss WordPerfect’s “reveal codes” feature, and I still maintain that outlining in Word is a random-number-and-indentation-generator, Image: Word comment box reading, "But I still call Julia Campins in confused desperation at least once a week."but I’m generally adapting to the change.


Posthumous conversion

I’ve been percolating a post about religion and religious tolerance.  It started around the time of Tebowmania, and each time I’d think I had just the right angle, something new and blogworthy would happen, like a panel of celibate dudes lecturing the world on contraception.  That post may still occur, but this snippet (sorry!) was too good to wait:

Stephen Colbert on Thursday tackled the practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims into the Mormon church.  . . . But “Jews don’t baptize, so instead I will now proxy-circumcise all the dead Mormons,” Colbert said.

The practice of posthumous baptism is fascinating to me from a number of angles.  Given that Jews don’t believe that baptism has any significance, our collective response should logically be “knock yourselves out, guys.  Enjoy the swim.”  But for sheer creepiness, it is really hard to outdo.  If I got word that my Jewish ancestors were being, well, not “baptized,” because that is not a meaningful concept to me, but invoked during a Mormon pool party the upshot of which is to say that their religion is better than mine, I’d be good and annoyed.  And creeped out.

Stephen Colbert has the answer.  Posthumous conversion of Mormons to Jews!

(I couldn’t get the Comedy Central video clip to embed, and I’ve wasted just about enough jury-instruction-drafting time trying.  For the full, hilarious, clip, click here.)

I’m thinking of proxy converting everyone, living or dead, to my religion:  Unaffiliated Skeptic With A Working Hypothesis of Monotheism.  Our main sacrament is Trying to Figure Out What It All Means.  All of my new converts would wander around in the same state of religious confusion in which I dwell, engaging in the Sacrament by asking each other, “What do you think it all means?” and listening respectfully to the answer.   No special clothing or food required.  And most importantly, no oppressing, killing, or even legislating against anyone else’s faith.