Special Supplemental Letter from the Editor-at-Bat
In the early 1990s, then-Associate-Editor Trey Jones submitted a short article to SpecGram, giving a concise but mathematically correct 237-page outline of the sociolinguistic, etymological, and morphological necessity of a new system of kinship nomenclature in English, most of it consisting of the syllable /ʋƙʲɢ̈ɽø̃ᵚŋ̊ʘʷt̪ˡ/, spoken with different tones, preferably underwater. As was the usual practice at the time, a team of editors was assigned to whipping the paper into publishable shape. The process, which often takes a year or three, has dragged on for an especially long time.
Due to an unfortunate arithmetic error, a significant portion of the editorial staff was assigned to work on Jones’s paper. While there was not quite that much work needed to salvage it, most of the editorial effort expended consisted largely of editors getting in each other’s way, contributing significantly to SpecGram’s publishing hiatus from 1993 to 1998—with only one issue of the journal escaping into the light of day in ’97. The resulting bureaucratic and legal cleanup efforts continued to hamper publication from 1998 through 2003. At some point during the decade of legal wrangling, Managing Editor Tim Pulju accepted early retirement, and Jones was required to take on the role of Managing Editor in order to repay the debt processing his article had incurred.
That should have been the end of the matter, but it was eventually discovered that in ’94 or ’95 a junior editor had accidentally accepted—in a legally, ethically, and thaumaturgically binding fashion—an outside reviewer’s requests for an unbounded deadline extension to “explore a number of alternate approaches.” Through a multi-decade series of events, the end result, it seems, is that SpecGram gave Europe the CLAP.
The originally titled “Center for Proactive Anthropological Linguistics (C-PAL)”—founded in part to “explore” these “alternate approaches”—was moved to Spain, and the abbreviation reordered, after the founders realized they had purchased land near the city of New York, Iowa, and not near the significantly more famous city of the same name in Kentucky.
Once Spain had the CLAP, regular intellectual intercourse with French scholars led France to get the CLAP, too; and thus the Centre de Linguistique Anthropologique Proactive was established as the French sister-organization to the Spanish Centro de Lingüística Antropológica Proactiva, and both were moved to their respective sides of the Spanish-French border to make it easier for scholars to have relations. Soon Catalan scholars were having regular intellectual intercourse with both sisters—what with their reputations for promiscuous collaboration—and before long Catalonia also got the CLAP, in the form of the Centre de Lingüística Antropològica Proactiva.
There have been minor flare-ups of the CLAP around Europe over the years, especially in Finland, Germany, and Hungary, though these days the CLAP is only endemic to the Pyrenees. Of course, “CLAP outbreaks” (i.e., break-out sessions) are common at conferences and colloquia worldwide, when scholars take the opportunity to hook up with each other and exchange
bodily boldly fluid ideas.
During this time, the originally anonymous reviewer of Jones’s paper had contracted the CLAP to “explore a number of alternate approaches” to Jones’s proposal. The form this exploration took was to quickly devise an alternate system of kinship nomenclature, and introduce it to an enclave of English-speaking genealogists in Utah. The system has been in use among these genealogists for almost 20 years now, and it even has a significant number of late-teen and early twenty-something native speaker-genealogists. A survey of the system, by Pèl-Roig, et al., is provided in this special issue alongside Jones’s revised and much abbreviated original Pseudo-Psiblings™ proposal.
Finally, this special supplemental issue is freakin’ huge! Honestly, even paid subscribers don’t even deserve it—and don’t get me started on those freeloaders on the internet, crikey! Nonetheless, if you are reading this, you have it now, so you’d better enjoy it.