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2015Re: [mythsoc] Interesting item in an article in _The Washington Post_

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  • David S. Bratman
    Jul 29, 2000
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      I should add that "it's not on ABE and it's not on E-bay" is emphatically
      not synonymous with "there are no copies available." This fallacy may be
      related to the one I see in college students all the time, the belief
      that all human knowledge is on the web.

      As a used book collector I also paw around in old magazine shops on
      occasion, and once on checking E-bay out decided to test it by looking up
      old magazine issues for sale. I was dismayed at how little was up there,
      and this combined with a distaste for gambling has probably saved me from
      a life of expensive indulgence on E-bay.

      As for ABE: on entering a used bookstore, and seeing how organized and
      generally fresh-looking it is, I can usually make a good guess as to
      whether its stock is online or not. Virtually every old magazine shop
      I've ever been in looks like the kind of bookstore that is _not_ online.

      Re Bush casually digging up a copy, as opposed to systematically
      searching for it and paying a lot of money, that may be a paraphrase from
      Bush's cover letter. It is customary for gifts of that sort to be given
      in a quiet and self-deprecatory context: "I just happened to dig up"
      rather than "I scoured the earth!" Now, if he were giving it to his
      wife, it would be more politic to say "I scoured the earth!" even if the
      true situation were that he just happened to dig it up. <g>
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