Re: RARA-AVIS: Willeford bio

William Denton (
Fri, 3 Jul 1998 13:57:08 -0400 (EDT) On Fri, 3 Jul 1998, Diane Trap wrote:

: > Herron heisenbergs all over the book, which I found off-putting.
: "Heisenbergs"? It's a new verb to me--what does it mean?

It's a verb of my own making. You've probably heard of Heisenberg's
Uncertainty Principle from quantum mechanics, which states that it's
impossible to measure precisely both the location and momentum of a
particle at the same time. (There are other pairs like this; I think
one is energy and time.) The Uncertainty Principle is sometimes
stated as "The observer affects the event," because whenever you try
to measure something, you're shining a light on it or squeezing it in
your hand and you are affecting that which you're trying to measure.
If you're measuring a litre of water, that's no big deal, but if
you're shining photons on electrons, it matters a great deal (that'd
be like trying to measure the location of a football by bouncing
billiard balls off it, more or less).

So, I use "to heisenberg" to mean "to blast oneself all over a work of
non-fiction in the belief that you are as important as that of the
subject." Herron's book isn't really about Willeford, it's about
Herron and Willeford, and while Herron seems like an OK gee, I was
there to read about Willeford.


William Denton | Toronto, Canada | | Caveat lector.
            "Let's keep the party polite."

# # To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # The web pages for the list are at