To bend the discussion a little and for a moment, one of the many things
I like about "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint" is that it's a
**pamphlet,** not an essay, not a book. I like the fact that it costs
money, that it's 28 pages long, and that it's beautiful to behold.
(It's not perfectly, hierarchically organized, in my silly pedantic
The pamphlet, Orwell wrote, "ought to be the literary form of an age
like our own. . . . When one considers how flexible a form the pamphlet
is, and how badly some of the events of our time need documenting, this
is a thing to be desired."
Two of the most memorable things I've read are Thoreau's "On Civil
Disobedience" and Milton's "Areopagitica" (with its epistemic "opinion
in good men is but knowledge in the making."
Some folks say the modern equivalent of the pamphlet is the blog, but I
don't think so. Tufte could not have done "The Cognitive Style"
The pamphlet's a wonderful medium, I think. But I wonder how a
self-published pamphlet would score in the professoriat's
publish-or-perish tally at a university?
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