Understanding authority video

Duration: 2 minutes 39 seconds

Understanding authority video

[2 police approach Mr McSkimming who is sitting at his table typing on his computer]

Erin – [police officer 1] You're under arrest!

Mahdi – [police officer 2] Put your hands up and move away from the laptop!

Mr McSkimming – What's going on? What crime have I committed?

Erin – This! [shows phone]

Mahdi – On the section of the Literary Act of Right This Moment, you have committed a dastardly crime.

Erin – You've created a text with minimal authority.

Mr McSkimming – Huh?

Mahdi – Authority of a text refers to how trustworthy it is. Is it written by an expert? Is it written in an appropriate style? Is it published by a reputable source?

Erin – Our guys down at the lab have determined this post, this blog post you made about a hot river of lava coming for us all has no authority whatsoever.

Mahdi – Yeah, we've done our detective work. We know you're not an expert in lava detection and your publication's not trustworthy.

Erin – Anyone can write anything on there.

Mahdi and Erin – Guilty!

Mahdi – You're going away, McSkimming. It's the end of the line.

Mr McSkimming – Wait, I wasn't the only one who had authority over the text!

Erin – Huh?

Mr McSkimming – Authority in literary terms, doesn't just refer to authority of a text or how trustworthy it is. It also refers to authority over a text as in who controls the text's meaning. I may have authored that post, but my editor told me what to write. And where I wrote the post only allows me to use nine words at a time, so I didn't get to finish what I was told to say.

Erin – Which was?

Mr McSkimming – "Hot river of lava "coming for us right now" says Cairo Jim, the main character in my new novel "Cairo Jim and the Rampageous River of Lava." Coming soon to a bookshelf near you.

Erin – Oh, so you didn't have sole authority over the meaning of your post. And your editor also had authority, and so did the microblog where you publish a text.

Mr McSkimming – That's right. Now that I think about it, maybe I should have chosen somewhere else to publish my text. Somewhere that would have let me finish what I needed to say in the way I wanted to say it. But writers, editors, and publications aren't the only people and things that influence a text. You, the reader, also have control over the meaning of a text.

Mahdi and Erin – We do?

Mr McSkimming – Yes, your personal ideas and experiences influence the way you interpret a text.

Erin – Do you know what this means, constable?

Mahdi – Yes.

Erin – We're guilty of a crime, too. A crime of jumping to conclusions.

Mahdi and Erin – Lock us up and throw away the key!

End of transcript

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Please note:

English K-10 Syllabus © 2012 Copyright NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales.

English Textual Concepts and Learning Processes, and Related Syllabus Content © State of New South Wales, Department of Education, 2017 Learning and Teaching Directorate

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