Friday, March 07, 2008

You are not the words you write

I chanced upon Daniel Chandler's essay on intertextuality (looking up more reading about value systems) in which he notes

In 1968 Barthes announced 'the death of the author' and 'the birth of the reader', declaring that 'a text's unity lies not in its origin but in its destination' (Barthes 1977, 148).

Essentially the reader has his/her own context and interprets both the author and the work from a personal and cultural perspective. But the sentence stood out for me because of its immediate parallel with the significance to user generated content.

Here there is no authority except in the author but many interpretations. In a sense, we cannot make clear our written intention nor can we expect common acceptance among readers.

Thus the values we express are not all of our own making but of the readers making.

It was good serendipity.