From: (David Sewell)
Subject: Re: Ad for C&S book in 12/2/94 NY Times business section
Date: 3 Dec 1994 03:56:40 GMT
Lines: 49

In article <>, Ron Newman <> wrote: [quoting NY Times ad:]

>Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel were the first to look at the
>Internet and see an incredible marketing opportunity.  Are they serpents in
                                                                 ^^^^^^^^ ^^
>Eden or trailblazers on the final frontier?

The vermin stole my metaphor! Do I have grounds for an intellectual property suit?

[Times Harper-Collins ad copy again:]

>If you're on the Net, you know who they are.  If you've ever been
>interested in the future of on-line communication, you should find out.

True, so far as it goes. But then if Harper-Collins had been peddling "Mein Kampf" in the early '30s they could with equal truth have written, "If you're in Europe you know who he is. If you've ever been interested in the future of the industrial democracies, you should find out."

You know, I'm beginning to see Canter and Siegel as almost irrelevant. It's all in Tolstoy, in "War and Peace": they're the village idiots who just happened to be in the right place when History caught them up and made them into petty Napoleons. I don't think their decline is going to be quite so noteworthy, though. Actually the ad folk got it right with the "trailblazer" parallel: most of the mountain-men, fur trappers, and Indian scouts on the Western frontier were opportunistic mercenaries whose brief freedom to flout civilization lasted only until the railroads and Eastern capital caught up with them, made them outmoded, and left most of the ones who survived penniless and forgotten.

Yep, one can imagine Larry and Martha in a cyber-bar 5 or 10 years from now, blearily buttonholing some rising young hacker or exec who looks with some dismay on their threadbare clothes and manic eyes as they shout, "We're Canter and Siegel, dammit! CANTER AND SIEGEL! Don't tell me you never heard of the Great Green Card Spam of '94?"-- pulling out their torn, faded, beer-stained copy of the New York Times ad as their quarry backs away with a polite "I'm sure that's wonderful, I've got to get back to the office, Linux 5.0 just got uploaded to sunsite, I'm sure you'll understand..." ... Telling his or her spouse that night, "I met the *strangest* pair of bums today, claimed they practically *invented* the Internet..."

David Sewell  *   | "Upward, downward, the way
RADIOCARBON, Dep't of Geosciences, U of Arizona |  is one and the same."
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