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OT: reply styles, family matters

I have a roughly forty year old nephew who uses email as a vehicle for political and philosophical discussion. His father is named Dave Bernstein, but not the same Dave Bernstein who teaches law at George Mason and recently came out with a book, _Lawless_, which looks at the current prez's penchant for um shall we say um "improvising" on the limits of the chief executive's powers. You get the drift I'm sure.

So I sent my nephew a review of the book that I found in _Commentary_, a fairly conservative organ of opinion. I headed the email with the subject line "DAVE BERNSTEIN HAS A NEW BOOK OUT" in order to tweak his curiosity. It worked. He treated me to a spirited reply, rather long too for him, but concluded it with this thought:

"Please don't respond line by line. It is patronizing and

I have acquired over the years a habit of carefully quoting and replying to those quoted snippets. But it rubs some in my family the wrong way. They don't see it as part and parcel of effective communication, or as, at bottom, simply good netiquette. They feel talked down to. My nephew's father had the same problem with me years ago but I think I have brought him around over time so that he no longer "takes it personal."

With that as background, here is my question/request: is anyone aware of a spirited defence of our ideal method of "selective quoting," (for lack of a better label) one, say, that perhaps has achieved the status of a "net classic?" Surely some 'net genius has dealt these nay-sayers, who seem to LIKE top-posting, a solid uppercut?


Bob Bernstein

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