Transcript of Authority video
Authority video (2 minutes 39 seconds)
[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