Stumbling just now into my apartment in Beijing, some 24 hours after pre-dawn checkout from the airport hotel at LAX, I discover that my Atlantic colleague Jeffrey Goldberg has volunteered for the noblest of efforts. This is the long, twilight struggle to mock politicians, journalists, raconteurs, etc who repeat the stupid, cruel, hackneyed, and unscientific boiled-frog cliche, so that eventually people will stop saying it. I knew I'd find an ally some day.
We all pick our causes. During my brief and enjoyable stint at Microsoft long ago, I worked on various big-think projects. But my claim to have changed the world may rest on my all-out war against "Clippy," the moronic "help" feature that popped up to say "Hey, you seem to be writing a letter!" each time you typed "Dear ..." I don't want to overstate things, but before I arrived, Word came with Clippy turned on by default. Now it's turned off by default. Judge for yourself.
So may it someday be concerning the frogs, thanks to their new defender Mr. Goldberg. And I actually have frog news, which at some point after I get some sleep I may share.
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