Too many notes

The spectacular 1984 film Amadeus about the life, music and madness of Mozart includes an amusing exchange between the Austrian Emperor Joseph II and Mozart. The Emperor, having just heard Mozart’s opera, gives the following feedback:

“Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.”

To which Mozart replies: “Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

The organizers of an electoral recall in British Columbia have run into a similar problem with a document. Elections Canada has rejected the application because it contains too many words.

Or does it? Chief electoral officer Craig James turned down the application because he felt that the acronyms MLA and HST are not two words, but eight. If you replace these acronyms with the words they represent (member of the legislative assembly, and harmonized sales tax) the 200-word maximum is then exceeded.

This is a documentation limitation that only a mindless bureaucrat could come up with. Even if you do count an acronym as more than one word (an obviously ridiculous standard), why would the maximum number of words in an application of this importance be set as low as 200? Surely one page (or about 450 words) would be a more reasonable limit?

In the meantime, the petition organizers need to find a good editor and give the following instructions:

“Note: There are too many notes in our note.”

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