I drew this cartoon on a let's-have-coffee note to catch a friend's eye during another spreadsheet conference: It was inspired by a paper about teaching Excel to novices, by Étienne Vandeput of the University of Liège. Étienne had written that teachers will often teach students how to change fonts and widen columns before they explain how to write formulae. Even more so, before they explain which formulae to write for which kinds of problem.
For these teachers, graphical-interface stuff is more important than correct maths. In the words of the proverb:
An ounce of image is worth a pound of presentation.
I can see why the French live longer than the English. At 9pm on the Monday, I was standing near Cathédrale Notre Dame in bright sunshine, admiring the flying buttresses and the views up and down the Seine. Plenty of time to meander back to the RER station, get back to the conference accommodation just outside Paris, and buy food from a local shop before dusk fell. At 9pm on the Tuesday, having emerged into London in the centre of a titanic hour-long thunderstorm, the first time I'd ever consciously noticed that lightning is blue, I was standing under a sky-sized raincloud, shivering. It felt ten degrees cooler. Dusk was reflected in the puddles on the pavement. This is why the French have joie de vivre whereas the English have tea and custard creams. Especially superb was the joie de vivre provided in liquid form (red, rosé, and white) at our conference lunches.