Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Friday, August 27, 2004
A Second-or-Greater-Hand Account

A post by Jonah Goldberg at The Corner will now trigger a pet peeve rant (bolding is mine):
From a guy in uniform:
As an officer I'm to remain impartial and publicly neutral. One point, though:
When Bush came into that mess tent in Baghdad (first hand account from two friends), that place spontaneously erupted.
No. The friends gave a first-hand account. The correspondent is now giving a second-hand account. I'm willing to say you can keep the number-of-hand-ed-ness constant through a direct quotation, so we can stop there, but if you go out into the world and tell this story from your recollection, you gotta bump it up to third-hand. I once had an argument with a guy who told me something that a guy had told a another guy who finally told him, and he was insisting that this was "at first hand". As you can see, I'm still bitter and obsessed.

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