Re: [NTLK] Newton in the New York Times

From: Michael Blazer (
Date: Wed Nov 03 2004 - 12:45:14 PST

Quoting Doug P <>:

> I love the visibility. OTOH, I wish the second paragraph had featured the 130, the
> 2000, and the 2100 instead of providing column space to note only the premature
> abilities of the original model (the notorious flop!).

I feel the same way, and I've noticed this kind of spin is present in most of the Newton
mentions I've seen in the general mass media over the years. At first I was annoyed at
what I thought was the laziness of these journalists who seemed content to endlessly
recycle the same "story" without bothering to find out that their story was out of date
and no longer an accurate reporting of their topic.

Now I just think it has more to do with an innate tendency for humans to get pleasure
from making fun of other people. The early Newton was like watching a slapstick comedian
fall on his face -- at least, if you focused only on some of the goofy HWR results. The
later Newtons just worked really well. That's not a very interesting story (at least in
the judgment of many journalists). So we Newton users are portrayed like some weird lost
tribe refusing to accept the "benefits" of modernity, or a cult that worships Gilligan's
Island reruns, or something like that. That's the hook to their story.

Too bad that Doonesbury strip had such a negative impact on the public's perception of
the Newton. (I'm tempted to sneak in a comment here about what a shame it is that
Doonesbury isn't influential enough to similarly doom certain political careers, but that
would be very OT and start a flame war, so I won't.)


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