A somewhat open letter to Professor John McCarthy.
To Professor John McCarthy, Director,
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
STANFORD, California 94305
thank you for your amazing letter of August 18, 1976. But you really don't need to be sorry for me because the output of your xerographic printer hurts my eye. (For after all, all of us need our daily dose of irritation: I satisfy my needs in this respect by exposure to audible wallpaper, xerographic computer output and similar would-be services to the consumer.)
I am puzzled by your ban on my use of the verb "to degrade": I thought I had used it correctly, in the sense of "to impair the quality of". But let me propose a deal: you allow me to dislike your poor xerographic printer output (and to say so), and I promise not to mind if you call me a snob.
As far as the mechanics of manuscript production are concerned, I can warmly recommend to all prospective authors to train themselves to get their texts nearly right the first time: it is a fast, efficient, and cheap way of working that almost always gives great esthetic and intellectual satisfaction.
And finally: if you have the text of your recent letter still in your computer files, you could do me three favours: inserting the missing "W." in the first line of the address, and correcting the spelling errors in the next two lines of the address.
As EWD581 - 1 your letter will get the same distribution as EWD574, my letter to Zohar.
Greetings and best wishes! Yours ever,