Monday, May 09, 2005

On the Times Assuming Too Much

Yesterday's New York Times had a piece about a former Letterman writer retiring early and writing a book about his experience. Here's a paragraph that struck me as plain inaccurate:
Few people younger than 35 undertake any activity these days without first contemplating its potential value as intellectual property, and that is especially the case for a comedy writer with an agent, a manager and a host of contacts in the TV world.
Few people!? Rest assured, all my younger-than-thirty-five readers who have endeavored to breathe, eat, or sleep without thinking about these activities' potential intellectual property, that I haven't done so either and suspect that hardly anyone actually does.

I think that in the rush to come up with a smooth transition in article about someone who actually did, this reporter has slipped into one of those sloppy assumptions that must be easy to make for impressive and smart people who work with other impressive and smart people on stories about impressive and smart people. If this reporter was being more reflective, however, I am sure that he would have conceded that there are more than a "few" people who don't think about writing a book before undertaking any activity.


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