HUMOR: Episode IV, A New Hopelessness

Subject: HUMOR: Episode IV, A New Hopelessness
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 18:05:34 -0800

Episode IV: A New Hopelessness

It is dark time for technical writers everywhere. The TechComm
Knights are fading from the universe at the hands of an evil new

Once, the TechComm Knights numbered in the thousands. They were a
force the universe could depend upon in times of confusion and chaos
to propagate more chaos and confusion. Strong of resentment and weak
of forearm tendons, these warriors of word fought the evil demons:
engineers. They fought with their Frame saber and Word grenades.
They fight with their endless commitment to whining about their
benefits and lack of network space. They fight with all their heart
to defend the Timeless Art of Technical Communication.

The evil engineers are out there bombing the ramparts of the rebel
base. They want to obfuscate the purity of communication and
detesticle those warriors of words. They want the Knights to describe
the true function of their hideous software. These engineers have
one, new deadly weapon: The Death Mark-up. The Death Mark-up is huge
red lines cut through paragraphs of rebellion. Beside the mark-ups
are emblazoned hurtful monikers such as ?This is all wrong!? and ?Are
you on DOPE?? How little they understand the quest of the TechComm

Engineers do not understand the wrenching emotional pain these word
warriors endure to help their beloved audience known nothing of value.
For it is the audience who so desperately needs help. The audience
is often unable to place a CD into a CD-ROM drive and is incapable of
distinguishing between client and server. The Warrior of Words must
clarify these salient points with diagrams, pictures, and complex help
systems. Be damned the software! There are helpless users out there
who need an advocate.

Yet the demons return, this time with a dreaded dark force ? Darth
Contractor. Lured from his purity by the dark side of technical
writing, Darth Contractor seeks only money in exchange for quickly
written prose and a snappy new template. Darth Contractor has been
know to resurrect dead projects and put teams of engineers back on
schedule with a flick of his carpal tunnel wrist. In a mere 275 hours
with a 300 hour cap, Darth Contractor has removed the barely edited
text from the specification and replaced it with coheasive,
comprehensible instructions, without a single complain about network
space or his lack of benefits. When he finishes his evil deeds, he
simple leaves. In his wake, nothing but an invoice.

Yet on the horizon there is a new hopelessness. A young boy, blessed
with the power of whining. A young woman who cannot change fonts,
lest the universe crumble. A FrameMaker obsessed troll from Hoth who
cannot learn C++ lest he become a programmer. Two droids from a
Silicon Valley megacompany who methodically force information mapping
on their victims. They are binding together to fight Darth
Contractor. They are making a difference. They are scheduling
four-hour task force meetings. They are pursuing new and more rigid
style guides. They are convincing the engineers that Darth
Contractors are too expensive and not ?committed to the team.?

Soon, the your rebels must face evil. And when it happens, they will
win! Glory will come when the Emperor is crushed by the fleets of
style manuals and rigid review processes. The glorious day will
arrive when the Knights will once again keep complexity well hidden
from the user.

This mindless drivel another product of the deteriorating mind of
Andrew Plato who reminds you to eat more fiber and stop picking at
that spot.

Get your free address at

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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