Dandy Dime

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Mon Mar 31 12:02:56 CST 1997


For those of you following the recent postings on the validity of a name
published in a local advertising rag called the Dandy Dime:

When Joseph Laferriere first posted his note, I responded by suggesting that
the Dandy Dime was probably a newspaper, etc.  My response evoked a note from
Richard Fagerlund *implying* (at least to me) that Joseph's posting was
hypothetically posed to make a point about a weakness in the ICBN as
currently written.

Now I find out (in a private message from Joseph) that he did, indeed,
place the ad in the Dandy Dime and that he is serious in claiming that the
name is validly published.

[[ My question to Joseph was

Are you now telling me that, in fact, you did publish that ad and that
you are claiming that the name has been validly published?

Joseph replied Yes to my query ]]

I here reiterate my reservations about the validity of the name (arguing that
the Dandy Dime does qualify as a newspaper, sensu lato).

But, I see a more serious side to this thread.  It appears that Joseph
has, through careful reading of the ICBN, discovered a technicality that
*may* give validity to names published as he has done.  Such an oversight
in the code needs to be addressed, and he is right to call attention to
it.  However, I find the method of calling attention to this problem to
border on the irresponsible.  That is, if one discovers a problem in a
set of rules, what is the best way to address the problem?  Does one
present the problem, via a contrived example, to the appropriate group so
that the rules may be amended?  Or, does one deliberately create a
circumstance that takes advantage of the "loophole" in order to make the
point (and thereby create a nomenclatural headache for those who
follow)?

I can't help but interpret Joseph's actions as a deliberate attempt to
force the issue, without regard for the consequences of his actions.  As
I read the code, it is clear what the "spirit" or "intent" of the
sections in question is.  And, from the way he approached the problem, it
is clear that Joseph was also aware of the intent of the code.  I cannot
accept his approach to this matter as a responsible attempt to avoid
future problems.

By analogy, suppose that I discover a loophole in the law that would
allow me to legally import Med-fly infested plants to California (perhaps
the law prohibiting such importation was lax in its wording so that
infested *fruits* were prohibited, but not infested *plants*).  Under
such a loophole, I could freely import infested plants, and who cares
about what the damage might be.  So, to make my point, I begin importing
such plants (thereby creating a real problem).  My other option, of
course, is to go to the appropriate legislators, carefully point out the
loophole and explain why the law needs to be amended.  Which action
should I take?  Should I attempt to make sure that the problem never
arises, or should I create the problem to convince people that something
needs to be done.  I, for one, would take the former course of action.

I let Joseph read a draft of this note before I sent it to the list.  He
informs me that my reading of his motives is correct, but he (1) rejects my
characterization of his actions as irresponsible (he indicates that his
attempts to have this matter dealt with have failed) and (2) rejects my
med-fly analogy.


Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |




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