prehistory of MEdZ, part i

every teacher that ever ran off
a worksheet is in some sense
*publishing*. when we create
our *own* materials, we’re

probably this goes a long way
to explain my life-long fascination
with *all* aspects of publishing…
and *particularly* the “low tech”
aspects requiring cheap tools
that are readily available.

my dad was an english prof
and was the author for two
sets of textbooks; these
paid for two very nice houses
and some of my undergraduate
tuition. this looked like
a pretty good racket, i guess.
anyway, i ended up getting
a doctorate in math and
becoming an assistant prof.

so i figured i’d *write* one.
before long, i’d lost hope of
*selling* one, though; textbooks
by individual authors with a
coherent approach had long since
been effectively banned in
large-scale publishing, and
moreover a few giant houses had
a virtual lock on the market.

i’d learned a little about
setting math in type when
i wrote my thesis– “a local-
-global theorem for skew-
-hermitian forms over quat-
ernion algebras”, should you
ask– and had learned a little
more in preparing the chapters
i shopped around when i still
thought an unconnected beginner
could crack this very tough market.

so when the college canned me for hostility
to rituals designed to make faculty
feel powerless about their working
conditions, i started doing zines
after a long hiatus… essentially
because i had all this cool
*typesetting* skill just lying
around unappreciated. also some
songs i’d written long ago and
some gripes to get off my chest
and some verse forms to experiment
with and stuff like that. it was
a blast.

this was at the end of
“the zine boom”. for
at least a year before
doing my *own* zines,
i’d *read* about ’em
in… and this seems
very strange today…
a widely-available
zine review *magazine*
(_factsheet_5_). the
boom ended not long
after _f5_ folded and
a whole lot of people
who might otherwise
have started zines
went online and did
“blogs” (and so on)


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