One of my favorite features in the Seattle Weekly is Uptight Seattleite, an advice column written in the voice of a stereotypical Emerald City denizen. Occasionally, Uptight fields a question about technology, as is the case today.
“Dear Uptight Seattleite,
“God, I’m so irritated. I just want to paste some text into Microsoft Word, but it insists on trying to reproduce all formatting and hyperlinks and pictures and anything else I may have incidentally highlighted. Why does Word do so many things I don’t want it to, and is unable to do the very simple things I do want it to?
The reply is a nice summation of the economic malaise draping our city:
“Since I’m a Mac man, you might expect me to squeeze off a few easy rounds of constructive criticism at Microsoft. But have you noticed that it’s a lot less fun to knock local icons lately? I think this may be related to our terrifying economic death spiral. It wasn’t that long ago that people were chuckling about WaMu’s “Get ready for the whoo-hoo” campaign, but now this seems like an endearing piece of a rapidly disappearing world. “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks”—even that all-time classic doesn’t feel so good now that we can easily imagine a world without Starbucks.
“In light of the new reality, maybe you should try to see Word as that awkward, overeager friend who’s at least trying to be nice to you. When things don’t make sense, and each news cycle is more sinister than the last, Word provides a thread of continuity with the past. Or at least to that moment three seconds ago when you were highlighting the text you wanted to copy.
“Or just clear all formatting by first pasting your selection into a plain-text editor like Notepad.”