Denny’s Daily Zinger: Government Meddling

My new book, “WRITE EVERYTHING RIGHT!” should generate some flak in the rarefied world of academiaspecifically Chapter 37 titled: “Are Footnotes (or Endnotes) Necessary? Nah.”

My reasoning:

  1. Google is a giant footnote. Type in anything and you’ll find it corroborated (or disputed).
  2. Asterisks* or little superscript numbers shout, “STOP! LOOK THIS UP!” This breaks the thread of concentration.
  3. In short, footnotes are interruptive pains in the ass for both reader and writer.
  4. The New York Times doesn’t have footnotes and endnotes. Why?
  5. Readers trust The New York Times.

Restaurant Footnotes
A brouhaha is developing in the French gastronomy. It seems some restaurants are serving food that (GASP!) did not originate in their kitchens.

For example, the bread may have come from a (Ugh!) commercial bakery and the spinach may have been (“NON!”) frozen.

The government is about to decree menus are to be junked up with footnotes, where every dish must be labeled fait maison.

Unlabeled items are suspect.

My message to the French — I have two main reasons to visit Paris:

1. To see my wonderful French cousins.

2. After months of doughy, chewy croissants from Starbucks and hotels, I lust after the real McCoy-flakey, flakey, flakey, crumbs-all-over-my sweater French croissants dunked in powerful strong black French coffee.

I don’t care where the croissants are made.

Get the French government the hell out of the menu footnote business.

Either you trust your suppliers or you go elsewhere.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and recently published his latest title, “Write Everything Right!” Denny also is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. Visit him at or contact him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Peter Hochstein

    Désolé, mon ami, although I love most of your opinions, in the case of France and food labeling, I beg to differ. Like you, one of my greatest treats in France is the bread at breakfast, in my case the simple tartine – a skinny baguette sliced at an unexpected angle – accompanied in my case by nothing but butter.

    Hey, you can get a hunk of baguette and butter right here in the good old USA, and slice it any way you want, right? Well, yes. But also no. Neither the bread nor the butter here tastes quite the same as it does in France. The reasons relate to a variety of things, from how the bread is made, to the water, to what the cows in Normandy munch on.

    Now maybe bread baked someplace else and trucked in will do the trick in France, some of the time. But if it lacks that certain subtle je ne sais quoi, I’ve just blown around a thousand bucks in air fare to eat some stuff I could have picked up around the corner in New York. Ditto your airfare and your croissant. Even Pillsbury makes croissants, n’est ce-pas?

    This is not to say that you might get a decent croissant or tartine in France anyway, even if the bread is baked ten miles away. But the operative word is “might.”

    I take note that at Parisian supermarket-y stores (which are also drug story-y and Woolworth-y) like Monoprix and Prix Unique, they sell bread. And the sign on the aisle clearly says, “Pain Industriel.” That translates as"industrial bread," and most of the French find the very idea painful.

    Industrial bread? Mon dieu! Next thing you know, some American will be declaring, “Let them eat Wonderbread!”