Biography of British thespian Laurence Olivier...

A NEW

March 02, 1992

A NEW biography of British thespian Laurence Olivier reminds us of this quotation from the man regarded as the finest actor of the 20th century:

"Never be afraid to be outrageous. You will always be shot down in flames because people are going to dislike you whatever you do. It is your fear of being criticized that stops you being outrageous."

* * *

IN THIS era of telecommunications, we have grown accustomed to correspondents providing us with several phone numbers (attached to answering machines, car phones, office and home telephones and, of course, FAX machines). A number of our writers communicate by computer modem, one chip to another, so to speak.

It had to happen.

Last week, John Merrow, a New York City writer, submitted an article to the Other Voices editor, who has decided to publish it. The theme is the disintegration of grammar in public discourse. Old-fashioned enough. The method of transmission was the U.S. mail -- also old-fashioned.

But there it was in the third paragraph of the covering letter: "So write me at home [address given]. Or call me at home [number given] or office [number given]. Or FAX me at [number given].

"Or beam onto my satellite dish at [23 letters and digits given].

What next?

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