I really hate putting things in modules that will be needed in a Python programmer's second program (the one after "Hello world"). If this is to be the *simpler* way of doing introspection then getting at it should be simpler than getting at "%". $ is taught in hour 2, import is taught on day 2. Some people may never make it to the metaphorical day 2 if they are doing simple text processing in some kind of embedded-Python environment.
This is a good argument for making this a built-in (Barry, please add to your PEP!).
Though I doubt that string % is taught in hour two -- you cna do everything you want with str() and string concatenation, both of which *are* taught in hour two. (And you can do *most* of what you want with print, which is taught in hour one. :-)
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/%7Eguido/)