'You telling me you ain't got a pint mug in the 'ole bleeding boozer?'
ORWELL ON METRIC CONVERSION
'Pint! he added aggressively to the barman. 'Pint of wallop.'
Born in Canada in 1950 my formative years were at a time when pounds and ounces, feet and inches, and temperatures in Farenheit were used. Then during the reign of the frenchman Pierre Trudeau the country switched overnight from the Imperial to the metric system. Ever since then I have never really known what temperature it is outside or how much something weighs without having first to do the math. It's never become automatic to me. I've always thought it could have been made easier had the government at least showed both measurements side by side. When I complain to most people about my dislike for metric measurement they usually tell me it's easy and they have no problem switching their allegience. So it was much to my satisfaction when, a couple of years ago, I discovered that I wasn't the ONLY person who disliked metric measurement. So did George Orwell, which is good company to be in. ~ Jackie Jura
AS I PLEASE
by George Orwell, in Tribune Magazine, March 14, 1947:
"Another thing I am against in advance—for it is bound to be suggested sooner or later—is the complete scrapping of our present system of weights and measures.
Obviously you have got to have the metric system for certain purposes. For scientific work it has long been in use, and it is also needed for tools and machinery, especially if you want to export them. But there is a strong case for keeping on the old measurements for use in everyday life. One reason is that the metric system does not possess, or has not succeeded in establishing, a large number of units that can be visualized. There is, for instance, effectively no unit between the metre, which is more than a yard, and the centimetre, which is less than half an inch. In English you can describe someone as being five feet three inches high, or five feet nine inches, or six feet one inch, and your bearer will know fairly accurately what you mean. But I have never heard a Frenchman say, ‘He is a hundred and forty-two centimetres high’; it would not convey any visual image. So also with the various other measurements. Rods and acres, pints, quarts and gallons, pounds, stones and hundredweights, are all of them units with which we are intimately familiar, and we should be slightly poorer without them. Actually, in countries where the metric system is in force a few of the old measurements tend to linger on for everyday purposes, although officially discouraged.
There is also the literary consideration, which cannot be left quite out of account. The names of the units in the old system are short homely words which lend themselves to vigorous speech. Putting a quart into a pint pot is a good image, which could hardly be expressed in the metric system. Also, the literature of the past deals only in the old measurements, and many passages would become an irritation if one had to do a sum in arithmetic when one read them, as one does with those tiresome verses in a Russian novel.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile:
Fancy having to turn that into millimetres!" [end quoting from AIP by GO]
ORWELL'S LOCAL PUB ('You telling me you ain't got a pint mug in the 'ole bleeding boozer?...Ark at 'im! Calls 'isself a barman and don't know what a pint is! Why, a pint's the 'alf of a quart, and there's four quarts to the gallon. 'Ave to teach you the A, B, C next....'I likes a pint... We didn't 'ave these bleeding litres when I was a young man.'...'Pint! he added aggressively to the barman. 'Pint of wallop.')
Reader asks why Mr. Blair's 80-year-old guy prefers pints to litres
Metric Conversion Blamed for Canadian Jet's Forced Landing
CANADA'S METRIC WEBSITE (The purpose of this page is to encourage the you, the Canadian consumer, to actively request metric units in the media and the marketplace)
ORWELL RESISTS NU SPELING
Go to 9.Keeping Masses Down and 11.Ministry of Plenty
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~