Monday, July 14, 2008


There was a lot of discussion of context that I read today.

Louis Gray cited an example of someone replying to a tweet without being specific about the topic to which he/she was responding.

Tweet 1: Person B: "@persona, are you up for seeing Wall-E at the Metreon?"
Tweet 2: Person B: "AFK for 15 minutes, got to get dog food."
Tweet 3: Person A: "@personb, I'd love to go. See you at six."

Do you want to eat dog food?

Perhaps Eric Spillman does. Jeremiah Owyang noted that after someone took Eric Spillman's "interview" at the iPhone line and posted it on YouTube, things went a little sour for Mr. Spillman:

What’s interesting to see is that this video (now on Digg) above is now climbing the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for Eric Spillman’s name as well as many blogs citing his name.

So, at least for a time, Associated Press Television-Radio Award winner Eric Spillman will be remembered as the guy who was called a jackass. Oops.

Which, of course, brings us to the latest salvo in the TechNigga controversy. Loren Feldman has previously stated that TechNigga can't be understood outside of the context of the series of videos of which it was a part. In this post, Feldman argues that he isn't the only one whose work was taken out of context:

Needless to say it’s been an interesting week in the media. Jesse Jackson apparently used a “racial slur” that not even Fox News would air, Bernie Mac did jokes at an Obama fund raiser talking about “hoes”, and none other than The New Yorker is forced to defend a satire that some say might be too complex for “average folks” to understand. Those who didn’t understand where I was going with TechNigga the first time might want to give it another view.

Ah, the New Yorker. My feeds included some comments on that. In a post entitled "Cancel My Subscription To The New Yorker," Sharon Cobb said:

You and I understand when they conceived this cover, that it's satire, but one must pose the question, "How many people who actually believe The Obamas are Muslim terrorists read The New Yorker?"

So the ignorant will see the cover on O'Reilly, hear about it on Rush, etc., without an explanation that its intent is to mock the politics of fear.

I'm sure the New Yorker wrote an excellent article about how the right use fear mongering to get their sheep to the polls to fight the terrorists. But the New Yorker doesn't get most of the sheep will never get beyond the cover!

On the other hand Jennifer of All Things Jennifer has no plans to cancel her subscription:

[A]fter hearing this NPR report on Thursday that clearly interviews the very people who despite being told otherwise, believe the representations in this cartoon is fact and not satire, I would think this cover hit the nail on the head. Anyone reading the New Yorker realizes this? Right?

C’mon people, find something else to get upset over.

So there are probably two things that we all need to realize:

  • Some people are going to look at things out of context.

  • Some people are going to take things at face value.
Well, I'm glad that I never post things that are in danger of being misinterpreted. Now let me go listen to some Randy Newman.


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