I knew something was odd when Microsoft's spelling checker corrected my typing of Bertelsmann, the German corporation that controls most of the world's English-language trade publishing. It's not your average English word. Neither are Westvaco, Enron, and Supervalu; nor Chevron, Costco, and Ameritech. But all of those semi-words are among the corporate monikers Microsoft has built into the English (U.S.) dictionary of its industry-standard Word 2000, often at the expense of traditional words.
Focus groups, aux armes! The revolution will be won at last: not in the mechanisms of the state, but in consumer showrooms nationwide. This spring, when DaimlerChrysler makes its new PT Cruiser available to customers, we'll finally see an automobile produced to resemble the mind of the nation.
LONDON -- Before the start of taping of the Mark Thomas television show, something of the New Britain is already in evidence here at the Bedford Arms in Balham, South London. A decade ago, this pub sat in the middle of a red light district. The chains on the doors of the large back room were sometimes removed to make way for local Labour Party meetings. Those were days of despair -- with Thatcher in ascendancy, representatives of the prostitutes' union coming to lecture, and infighting over who was more socialist than whom.
Most historians agree that the bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, was one of the darkest chapters in the Allied struggle to liberate Europe from Nazism. On that day, as many as 135,000 civilians may have been killed, and a city with an irreplaceable architectural heritage was utterly destroyedall at a point so late in the war that the justification for the carnage seemed painfully lacking. Certainly any documentary that would seek to make sense of the tale would need the guidance of a historian who could convey both the cruelties of war and the horrors of Nazism.