Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear American Magic Publishers

When you write a magic book or create a DVD and you need to tell the audience about the measurements of certain magic paraphernalia please by all means, add "metric" measurements as well. If you design your shit for the American market only, then so be it. But the rest of the world uses the metric system. (Yeah I know that Liberia and Myanmar don't use it either, but the average "Murican" doesn't even know where those countries are.)

Thank you!


Magnus Asbjorn said...

Is it really that big of a problem? It's not a hard conversion to do.

Justin said...

Precisely. Why WOULDN'T an author include the conversions.

cirrus said...

Tommy Wonder did it in his books... but I think it is a problem. Very often I have to search for the measurements somewhere online because it wasn't included, and that's very annoying when you are working on an effect.

Magnus Asbjorn said...

Same reason metric users don't, the target market just uses the one system.

Justin said...

So American publications, written in English, are intended solely for American audiences?

You're yanking my chain, right?

Including those extra few digits is just good courtesy on the author's part, plain and simple. I see no reason why one would even argue that point.

Keosilver Silver said...

You know what else irritates me? The use of masculine words in magic instructions. There are woman in magic.

Michael Jay said...

The use of the masculine in any form of writing is called 'proper writing.' The use of "he/she" in a manuscript can quickly become cumbersome, particularly if it is needed copiously. The idea that proper writing should be effected by the PC brigade turns my stomach. These are the same people that think 'chairman' should be 'chairperson' and 'mailman' should be 'mailperson,' ad infinitum.


Look at it this way, if the masculine use is so terrible then maybe we should take a look at the 'female.' It has 'male' in there. Maybe, just maybe, we should change that word to 'feperson.' What about 'woman?' Maybe that should be 'woperson.' Then we'd have 'fepeople' and 'wopeople.' Better?

The PC brigade need to get over themselves.

Michael Jay said...

Oh, for God's sake. Really? European writers, when writing in English, generally don't make the conversion for Americans. Tit for Tat.

Get over it.

Chris said...

And they should do both calculations too. If it's an easy fix, and it helps, then it should be done as a courtesy and an ease of use thing.

Now, the issue I struggle with is being a left hander, reading magic taught for right handed people. Obviously not saying that they should write "pick up the card with the left/right hand and move it to the deck held in the right/left" but wish someone would work out something. Maybe in pdf versions (where it would work) having a left and right hand edition.

Keosilver Silver said...

Wouldn't it be bothersome to switch from metric to inches or include the two as well then? Personally though, I think the metric system should be the standardization.

Magnus Asbjorn said...

"American publications, written in English" is almost as stupid a line as when the morons here claim they don't speak English they speak American.

American publications are written in English cause it's the native tongue, it's the language we speak, it's the language we learned as kids, and very few Americans learn a second language and when they do it's usually spanish.

While the web has allowed for a more global market place, I have to say that yes when a writer writes he's thinking of a rather local market besides the fact that he's writing in his native tongue which here in America includes feet and inches.

Magnus Asbjorn said...

It not just in magic instructions most places use the masculine, though I have read some books that switched between masculine and feminine between thoughts, and some that apologized and said that while either sex could be doing it, they would use 'he' for ease of reading.

English lacks a good neutral pronoun for use with people, I mean could you imagine reading instructions the said "The magician takes the coin in it's left hand, it then passes it to it's right, in doing so it executes the steal." Just there we have an issue where both the coin and the nongender magician are referred to as "it". That said I would not be bothered if more books were written using 'she' instead of 'he'.

With the exception of three countries metric is pretty standardized.

Justin said...


Quoi? My point was to emphasize that you would be hard pressed to find a major English language publication that was not intended to be available to non-American audiences. Especially considering the growing "global marketplace."

Who cares if an American author's "native tongue" is in feet and inches? That still doesn't change the fact that it's a common courtesy to include both measurements. To repeat: I see no reason why someone would even argue otherwise.


Yes, non-American publications should also include both measurements. I assumed that went without saying.

No one here is claiming this is a major problem. It's not. It's somewhere between a Who Cares? and a non-issue. But it does raise the question: Why WOULDN'T an author include both measurements?

Magnus Asbjorn said...

You pointed out that American publications are written in English. As if the language they are written in determines the market. Saying that American publications are written in English and so must be for a global market is stupid.

I'm saying that an author is not thinking of the global market place when he writes. While I can't speak for writers most of the people in my corner of America (the south) barely have any thought for places out side of America period.

If it were common courtesy we wouldn't be discussing it.

石榮狼 said...

Metric is the international norm; feet and inches are one national system. The "but European writers don't make the conversion for Americans either" argument does not stand. If international publications were to include feet & inches measurements, should they also include measurements in Chinese "tsun", in Japanese "shaku", etc.?

I agree, however, that considering all American publications to fall within "international" just because they're written in English is farfetched, as most Americans don't really think beyond their borders. A particularly blatant symptom of that is their eBay behaviour: most sellers from most countries ship anywhere in the world, while with a few very rare exceptions, American sellers ship within the US only. Same goes for most American online shops, which I must say is a pain in the neck.

The absence of metric conversion, though, is a very minor issue; nothing to get bent out of shape over.

Michael Jay said...

Okay, well let's not stop there. Since it is an international market, then why not convert English to French, Italian, Mandarin and every other language, including rare tribal languages of African citizenry? In this way, a 20 page manuscript would be a 900 page book.

Also, let's make sure that we include an index in the back for defining words that the reader may not understand because we certainly wouldn't want that reader to have to pick up a dictionary. No, that would complicate the matter.

Personally, I think this whole thing is absurd.

Roland said...

Na... way too much work. English has crawled up it's way to be the universal language for professional publications. And face it magic literature is a professional publication.
Non professional publication do get translated into all the common languages if it is supposed to hit the bookshelf in the target country. So having them in English and English only is ok in my book.

However the metric system is the univeral system world wide. Professional publication use those. I read a lot of scientific works and they all include metric conversions. Even if the writer is from America.

There is no reason to go down but every reason to go up. Use the universal language, the universal measurement system... And I dearly would love to see that we quit that stupid Farenheit-system as well. Historically speaking the system never made much sense. The Celsius scale (Water based. 0=Freezes; 100=evaporates) Does make more sense. However I wouldn't mind if we use the Kelvin System. But that's just the nerdy me.

Magnus Asbjorn said...

I personally wouldn't mind the switch but people have been trying to get america to switch for decades and it's just not happening.