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[Comments] (7) Wikipedia Says: Wikipedia says that, originally, movie copyright dates were written as Roman numbers so that the studios could release five-year-old movies in Lebanon or Peru, and the audiences there wouldn't have the fact that the movie was five years old jump right out at them. This is entirely consistent with the known behavior of the movie industry, but I'm suspicious of it because I can't find a non-Wikipedia source for it, and also it forces me to add another item to my previously simple heuristic for when to use Roman numbers.

  1. You are pretentious (Super Bowls, titles of movie sequels, dates carved into buildings, names of people).
  2. You are desperate for visually distinct ways of representing the counting numbers (outlines, page numbering for prefaces).
  3. You want to obfuscate a number (movie copyright dates).

Actually, Pete Peterson II makes me add another item, since he's not named that for pretentious reasons. Lousy heuristic! In a sinister twist of fate, it's now become as complicated as Roman numbers themselves!


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