Humanities outlaw numbers

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There exists, in the murky underbelly of campus culture, a war between the fuzzies and the techies — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. On a daily basis, each side engages in asymmetrical warfare against the other, lobbing binary bombs and the collected works of Jane Austen across the narrow sliver of pavement that divides the main and engineering quads. In a recent escalation of the conflict — one poised to close the ranks of the humanists as they link elbow-patch-clad arms — all humanities departments have unanimously agreed to prohibit the use of numbers.

“It was a move born of necessity,” explained history department chair Sharon Shelly. “It’s no secret that more and more students have been opting for degrees that make heavy use of numbers. In order to differentiate ourselves, we therefore thought it best to eliminate the use of all numbers from humanities classes.”

When asked whether this number ban extended to the use of dates —something commonly understood to be vital to the study of history — Shelly emphatically said it would.

“We’ve devised a new temporal demarcation strategy to indicate when a given historical event transpired,” Shelly said. “History is now arranged into distinct time periods henceforth known as: a little while ago, when my grandparents were born, a long while ago, a really long while ago, and a f****** long while ago.”

The English department has taken similar steps to purge all of its books of page and chapter numbers, replacing them instead with demarcations of: the beginning, nearish to the beginning, the middle, a bit after the middle and the end. Each section can be further specified by adding smidges before and after — for example: a few smidges after the beginning.

When asked to comment on potential plans to reciprocate, the head of the engineering department — who is the chatbot from the hit 2005 video game Nintendogs — issued a statement saying that while no decisions have been made, measures to replace all words in the engineering department with binary notation were underway.

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only. 

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A chronic anachronism, Ben enjoys well-punctuated texts and oatmeal cookies. He's also majoring in psychology, so he knows how many fingers you're thinking of holding up. Spam him at bmidler 'at' stanforddaily.com.