… or the importance of being Douglas.
I’m currently reading Douglas Hofstadter’s “I am a Strange Loop”, which has reminded me of two hypothetical imaginary letters that I never sent (and now never will) to Mr Hofstadter and Douglas Adams.
The letters were identical, and were enquiring whether the reader was aware of the importance of brevity in all manner of written literary endeavours. Here is the text:
If he had the time and inclination to accept the brief, I feel sure that Douglas Hofstadter would respond with a lengthy treatise, full of witty self referential references to all manner of brief entities, which would alternately delight and mystfy, explaining that yes, he was aware of, and always practiced at length, the art of being brief.
Douglas Adams’ hypothetical response would have been a little shorter, and I have reproduced it in full below:
This is to be read three times, salutation, body, and signature, all in one three letter word.
Read it again and it is documentary evidence that what the author says is true; surely the World’s shortest quality document, complying with ISO 9001.