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

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