The Schpat Dope

Just like The Striaght Dope only not as well researched or funny

Saturday, July 23, 2005

So, was Melville Dewey a Nazi...

Schpat Dope Q&A

D@vid asks:

Dewey (of the decimal system) also tried to revamp the English language, particularly on the pselling front (although it is Shaw who is incorrectly attributed with spelling fish as ghoti)... my question is, was he a Nazi?

Schpat Answers:

First some background info. Melville Dewey was an american who worked as a library assistant when he developed the his famous decimal system. After this he moved to Boston and cogitated on various other innovations to make peoples lives easier. Among successful ideas was the vertical office file, among unsuccessful ideas was spelling reform.

Spelling reform was a complete failure, instead making american's lives easier it ended up making them dumber. This is evidenced by the fact that they can't spell "colour" or even "organisation" (hell I don't know if I spelled them correctly because this damn spell checker is set to american).

Dewey was so embarrassed by this failure that he changed his name to "Melvil Dui" and died in relative obscurity. Most conspiracy theorists are happy to take this out of context to prove that he was in fact a Nazi and only changed his name in an effort to hide from the Mossad. GB Shaw on the other hand was a little dodgy. At the very least he was a Nazi sympathiser who wrote in the preface to his play Geneva (1945) things along the lines of "the nazi aren't really so bad" and "concentration camps might actually have been good for the Jews, they only died of overcrowding". He also called Hitler a "Messiah". The Nobel committee must have had some serious egg on their faces after giving him a Peace Prize for Literature in 1925, doh!

In short, you library geeks out there are safe to continue in your worship of Melvil Dui and his brilliant system, but "My Fair Lady" fans should have a good hard look in the mirror.

C'mon folks, now that I've answered that one send in some more questions. If you don't ask questions I will!


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