Re: to: Michael Lorrey Re: TANSTAAFL! and fnords

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin (
Mon, 15 Dec 1997 22:27:20 -0800

> From: Philos Anthropy <>

> > What does TANSTAAFL! mean and what is a fnord?

TANSTAAFL is an acronym which most people get from Robert Heinlein's
book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or from another source derivative
therefrom. I don't know if Heinlein originated it or not. It stands

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Fnord is, in the Wilson/Shea trilogy "Illuminatus", a meaningless
word that is printed scattered through the text of most published
matter. In the world of this fantasy/science-fiction/parody series,
children are trained using hypnotic techniques to not see this word.
This creates a conflict within the brain, a source of stress. The
authorities (the ones that are aware of the fnords) control the
reader's reaction to any printed matter by controlling the ratio of
fnords to other words -- something completely free of fnords is so
unusual that a positive emotional reaction is virtually guaranteed,
whereas anything critical of the government is guaranteed to contain
a lot of fnords to generate a strong negative reaction.
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