I Gotcher “Context” Right Here

Filed under:Blogging,Language Barrier,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on June 25, 2008 @ 6:29 am

The AP’s recent demand for bloggers to stop quoting them without payment, in a petulant bout of trying to unilaterally do away with fair use, included the pretext that people needed to read entire AP stories “in context” rather than bloggers’ selected quotes.

“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”

No serious blogger I’m aware of quotes material without providing a link. Except maybe to the AP in the light of this silliness. But that’s beside my point today, which is that somebody should clue Time magazine into how this works. In an article linked by Hot Air headlines today, Time quotes a phrase from Rachel Lucas’s post on the pregnant teenagers in Gloucester: “marauding narcissistic sluts”–a phrase so strikingly crafted, by the way, that I recognized it and its source instantly upon reading it in Time, but you’d never know who said it if you just read Time. Moreover, you’d be informed that it came from a “conservative” blog, a description Rachel herself would certainly take exception to.

A blog at The Village Voice did a little better, linking Rachel directly in discussing her pronouncement that all teenagers should undergo mandatory sterilization, but failing to include what the AP would no doubt describe as context: The fact that Rachel doesn’t really support mandatory sterilization.

This is one of the pitfalls of blogging, that if people don’t read you regularly they may miss posts that explain some of your hyperbole, that mitigate some of your rhetoric, that outright say some things are satire or just an over-the-top rant. But at the very least, sources like Time ought to see an obligation to provide a link that allows people to judge for themselves what the person quoted is saying and what she means by it. The MSM has been doing this forever, quoting people at the scene of whatever incident they’re reporting and identifying those people by name, even though that adds no additional “context” to the story and not much about the mindset of the person being quoted. Now that the mindset and context are available out the ears, the MSM doesn’t seem interested in people’s real opinions or the reasoning behind them, or even, in this case, identification of the speaker–because that would involve sending readers’ eyes elsewhere, to mere mortals with blogs, and everybody knows they’re not real content providers, but just unreliable cut-and-pasters with no context of their own.

It’s a backward stance and a hypocritical one–if you’re going to cite bloggers, you need to identify the source, at the very least just as you would identify the speaker in a news story and at the very most with a link that provides the “context” the AP was so exercised about. If bloggers are such peons unworthy your notice, then stop quoting them at all. Oh, wait–they come up with really juicy phrases like “marauding narcissistic sluts,” don’t they? Too good not to quote, too bad to ID and link. Poor, poor MSM caught in the web–the World Wide Web, that is.

Update: Commenter Buzzion notes that the article no longer describes the blogs in question, including Rachel’s, as “conservative.” That’ll teach me to always screencap. The text now reads:

Some blogs hosted a righteous orgy of “slutshaming,” denouncing Gloucester’s “marauding narcissistic sluts” for following the toxic example of movie stars and the Spears sisters, and longing for the return of the scarlet letter.

This morning it said “Some conservative blogs hosted …” I’m (reasonably) certain of that because it was the first thing I emailed Rachel about it. You can take my word for it or not, as it is secondary to the point–that they should be linking or IDing by name blogs they quote, no matter from what spot on the political spectrum.

Just Remember

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on June 14, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

…when you read personal anecdotes on your fellow bloggers’ blogs, that it’s probably worse than they’re letting on.

Holy Smoke

Filed under:Blogging,Heh — posted by Anwyn on June 12, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

A woman blogger who makes Rachl Lukis look like a little ray of sunshine dancing on the wall for your amusement. Don’t believe me by this post or this one? Try reading her “About” blurb.

Can we sic this woman on Rachel’s Idiot Angry A(nti)theists?

Via my friend, Miri’s dad, Godwin the Garter Knight, who suggests we find and kiss this woman on the mouth. Dude … you can try. Send me the video.

Dear Diary

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on June 5, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

Day Three. No post ideas that don’t suck. Blaaahhhgs drag on. No news stories incite me to post or anger me into wordsmithery; they just depress me. There’s the old man people let lie in the street to die; there’s John Bolton pointing out the flaws in Obama’s understanding of foreign policy and the little yapping dogs in the comments who think waging a war means “blowing up the Middle East”; Sarah finds another nonyapping but condescending commenter who thinks a big defense program is equivalent to socialist health care because they both have big price tags and involve big bureaucracies. Kyle Smith seems to have suffered catastrophic blog failure. (Update: Fixed.) See? Depressing.

I’m not the only one; even Lileks is tired of his own nostalgia:

It’s all useless nostalgia, of course; no wifi and coffee shops that smelled of cigarettes and scratchy hissy TV that cut out after Carson and gave you the Indian Head or “High Flight,” with its surly-bond-slipping.

Further outlook: Surly. And bound.

You’re Gonna Buy This Stuff Anyway: Use My Widget!

Filed under:Blogging,Cool — posted by Anwyn on May 12, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

I’ve allied myself with the Amazon Empire and put up a widget with my recommendations (updated frequently with good stuff!) and a search box. When you buy Amazon goods through my site, I’ll get a percentage that will help pay for my webhosting, etc. I may look into getting a new theme that will have the widgets on one side and the Recent Comments back up high on the other side, but for now the Amazon widget will stay on top. Go forth! Buy goodies! Thanks.


Filed under:Blogging,Cool,Television — posted by Anwyn @ 12:43 pm

I cannot speak of it.

Fun SiteMeter Fact

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on May 3, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

A disproportionate number of Oregon hits on my blog are referred by a search-engine query for marijuana.

I could really stand to move out of this state.

Ahead of His Time

Filed under:Authors,Blogging,Cool — posted by Anwyn on April 29, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

“There are to be forty interlocking committees sitting every day and they’ve got a wonderful gadget–I was shown the model last time I was in town–by which the findings of each committee print themselves off in their own little compartment on the Analytical Notice-Board every half hour. Then, that report slides itself into the right position where it’s connected up by little arrows with all the relevant parts of the other reports. A glance at the Board shows you the policy of the whole Institue actually taking shape under your own eyes. There’ll be a staff of at least twenty experts at the top of the building working this Notice Board in a room rather like the Tube control rooms. It’s a marvellous gadget. The different kinds of business all come out in the Board in different coloured lights. It must have cost half a million. They call it a Pragmatometer.”

–C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

All the relevant parts connected to all the other relevant parts by little … links. The major difference, of course, is that the Notice Board was to be run by an Institute whose purpose was to manipulate, gull, lull, and damn the population, while the internet really is the embodiment of the old sixties radical slogan: Power to the people. When anybody net-savvy can link and pipe up their opinion, you really can see the views of vast swaths of people taking shape “under your own eyes.” It’s a marvellous gadget indeed.

Quote of 2006

Filed under:Blogging,Cool — posted by Anwyn on March 14, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

“What if she filled it in ‘nay’ or ‘WTF’?”

Via Ace’s headlines.

How the Other Half Lives

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on March 4, 2008 @ 10:06 am

I’m back from my trip, up early due to the time change, actually getting a few things done before 10 a.m., which is nice. Back with fresh grievances against the TSA (did you know that sealed, in-their-original-individually-sized-containers applesauce and chocolate pudding, aka my son’s food during all-day travel ordeals, are liquid and gel, respectively? I didn’t, despite having taken these items on numerous flights before without incident. I do now), back to the usual routine … just back.

Lileks says he doesn’t know anybody who can eat a box of saltines before they go bad. At Chez Anwyn, soup is consumed is vast quantities that mow through a box of saltines in far less than a month. Plus the fact that one of the Bean’s favorite dishes is egg salad on a cracker.

Anne’s daughter Lily wants for her spring break … to stay home. Well, I guess we’ll be doing the same thing since we just took a week’s vacation when it wasn’t actually spring break.

And Rachel Lucas (surprise, surprise, surPRISE!) hates “MommyBloggers.” You mean, like, telling the story about how when I viewed Sunny’s campaign video, my son requested repeated (and I do mean REPEATED) viewings of its predecessor, “Sunny Pesters Digger,” and then proceeded to act it out with me:

Son: “I’m Sunny. You’re Digger.”

Me: “Okay.”

Son: “I will bark at you, and you growl.”

Me: “Okay.”

Son: “Ruff. Ruff. I’m pestering you, Digger!!”

Me: “Growl.”

There you go, Rachel, that one’s on the house. MommyBlogging comes at a premium around here. Son sends his love … for Sunny and Digger.

Shake-ups at Hot Air

Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on February 25, 2008 @ 7:27 am

Goodbye and best of luck, Bryan; hello and best of luck, Captain Ed.

Posting May Be Light(er)

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on February 21, 2008 @ 7:45 am

Taking the Bean to see his grandparents for a week or so. Be good.

CPAC Blogger of the Year–Speech! Speech!

Filed under:Blogging,Cool,Politics — posted by Anwyn on February 9, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

Ace invokes the Reagan in all of us.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace