Pieces of Eight

I e-mailed the letter below to Stereophile magazine this afternoon. Normally, I do post audio and digital audio content to Computers. This thread has little to do with digital audio, and a lot to do with commentary and the rules of the road.

I would violate my own terms of service (TOS) if I posted this in Computers because it hijacks a thread that, by rights, should have been about digital audio. Also, my letter cites the same cuss word I’m writing Stereophile about (another TOS violation). So, the questionable word is expertly edited out so that you could hardly recognize it.

I’ll let you know if the magazine publishes the letter, if they see fit to do so, if I remember that I promised to do so. 🙂

Sent: Fri 2/12/2010 4:09 PM
To: ‘STletters@SourceInterlink.com’

I picked up on the current “pieces of s***” thread in Letters; I must have been particularly rabbit-brained that day to miss Art Dudley’s introductory vituperation. I always read Art, or thought I did. While I shilly-shallied for over a year over whether or not I needed a DAT, as soon as Art wrote about the $99 Music Streamer, I became an entry-level DAT fan and never looked back.

So, here I was prepared to write a rejoinder that I found his “piece of s***” remark offensive, not because I don’t luxuriate in stronger language in private, nor to excoriate, berate or condemn, but just to echo the observation that political invective, however beloved, doesn’t really have a proper place in an audiophile magazine. Jayne Wilson of Liverpool so eloquently covered this sensibility in her letter.

Henceforth, let it be known to all ye privy to this thread, that we may recognize a subtext meaning to the code phrase “pieces of eight” — if adopted: “Their real worth was assessed at several pieces of eight.”

I was also working myself up to say that, even if I agreed with the comment, it honestly didn’t belong in the magazine. Then, alerted to Art’s thoughtful reply in the March issue, I discovered that I did agree with Art’s unguarded evaluation of the political luminaries in question. Horrors! Should that make any difference?

No, I still think we should relegate political diatribe and hyperbole to AOL chat rooms, back room blogs and the raw guano splattered on the bottom rungs of the unfortunate MarketWatch site. As much as I enjoy dissing sinister cabals in private conversation, that pastime should have no real place of honor in Stereophile. Nonetheless, hats off to Art, thanks for getting me to buy the $99 DAT, and should one expect to be 3x happier with the $299 DAT, and so on and so forth, all the way up the price tag scale?

Alex Forbes
Castro Valley, CA

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