"the apocryphal HDAS III"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 5 03:24:48 UTC 2010

At 11:12 PM -0400 8/4/10, Sam Clements wrote:
>What Sturgeon actually said, accordint to Fred Shapiro's wonderful,
>ground-breaking tome, is
>"Ninety percent of Science Fiction is Crud."

But isn't that just a concession that leads up to the punchline which
is indeed "Ninety percent of everything is crud" (standing in for


>Extrapolations invited.
>Sam Clements
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Mark Mandel" <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 23:06
>Subject: Re: "the apocryphal HDAS III"
>>Sturgeon's Law: 98% of everything is crap.
>>m a m
>>On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 9:23 PM, Alice Faber <faber at haskins.yale.edu>
>>>On 8/3/10 6:27 PM, Dave Wilton wrote:
>>>>  There may be a sample bias here.
>>>>  An American is more likely to encounter an English writer who makes
>>>>  their
>>>living off writing--novelists, essayists, etc., but will typically
>>>a much broader range of American writers, including business people,
>>>doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. Creative and witty writing is not
>>>necessarily rewarded in these other field. (Nor should it be, especially;
>>>I'd rather have an ironclad contract written in impenetrable jargon than
>>>with clauses of dubious legality that is a wonder to read).
>>>>  As to my experience in negotiations, I'd give my American colleagues
>>>higher marks for wit, creativity, nonconformity, and argumentation any
>>>But then I only dealt with a single British diplomat on a regular basis,
>>>I wouldn't judge the entire British diplomatic corps on that one example.
>>>(I'm not saying he wasn't competent, just not a sterling example of
>>>rhetorical and literary expertise.) Plus, I knew a bunch of zeroes on the
>>>American side, too--including one who, in a very late night of
>>>lost it and called the Israeli delegate a "liar." (Not the most shining
>>>moment of American diplomacy.)
>>>Indeed. Back in the 80s, PBS stations in the US regularly aired various
>>>British sitcoms. These were much wittier than the comparable American
>>>comedies. In the winter of 1985 (or so), I went to England for a
>>>conference at Oxford. One of the things I was looking forward to was a
>>>chance to see more British sitcoms. Well...then I saw the ones that PBS
>>>hadn't picked up...All I can say is ouch.
>>>Alice Faber                                       faber at haskins.yale.edu
>>>Haskins Laboratories                            tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
>>>New Haven, CT 06511 USA                               fax (203) 865-8963
>>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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