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No. 138: If I have been published less widely, it is by having my toes stepped upon by midgets.

If I have been published less widely, it is by having my toes stepped upon by midgets.

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

{Isaac Newton (not yet "Sir") is seated at his desk, reading a letter with an angry expression. In the background is a shelf of books on topics of mathematics, physics and alchemy. A book by Leibniz props up the corner of his desk.}

letter: Dear Mr Isaac Newtone Esq., We thanke thee for thy work on Natural Philosophie whych thou hast submitted for pubblication. We do recommende, however, that thou changest the title to something more suitable. Itte is oure belyfe that "Whye Alchemye Explaineth Light" hath a bad Optick.

The author writes:

A discarded letter in motion shall remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, such as hitting the back of the fireplace.

I have been annoyed over the last year by frequently hearing politicians and journalists referring the "optics" or even the "optic" of a situation, apparently meaning "appearance". Why they feel the need to invent terminology for which there are already perfectly good words, and in the process, soiling existing technical terminology, I don't know. I try not to let this sort of thing bother me. I mean, I don't want to come across as one of those people who whinges about failure to use "whom" correctly, but sometimes I can't help it.

I was surprised, reading the Wikipedia page on Newton, to find out that he actually told the apple-falling-from-a-tree story himself. I had always got the impression it was apocryphal. It looks like it's just the idea that the apple hit him on the head that is not true.

I have chosen to write the publisher's letter in a style that I use for pretty much anything from Chaucer's time onwards, but I suspect the spelling should actually be more modern, and the vocabulary and grammar less so.

Drawn in Krita and in Inkscape.