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RE: Taking control of the documentary situation, an immodest proposal

  Personally, I think that anyonbe who gets involved with a documentarian and 
expects everything that they say to be presented as it was stated originally 
and not edited up is as hopeless as Tantalus. Matt's interview was seemingly 
ripe for haviong an entire chuck removed from the butt-end as "unnecessary" or 
"too long, didn't read," especially since virtually everything he said before 
it, with careful construement, could be read as being EXACTLY what he said, and 
what was meant to be said by Matt; it is clear that Mike Taylor (and Matt 
Wedel, the aggrieved party and his friend) do not think so, so I wonder if they 
are too close to be objective. No, I do not think Matt was a victim of 
quote-mining, as a strict reading of a causal definition (perish the thought) 
requires taking the aUthor out of context. This did not happen, but apparently 
Matt feels it did, and the documentarian's response is fitting for a 
publicity-generating company that sank its money and time into this far and 
beyond Matt's.

  Now, I do have a suggestion, and it's a tough one: I suggest right now that 
EVERYONE who seeks to create publicity for their projects to do one of two 
things, if not both:

  1) Every person involved with a documentarian/science reporter should keep 
tabs on the company that interviews them, and ensure that they not only read a 
final draft, but a final proof prior to print/airing to ensure that they are OK 
with the way they are being represented. Anyone not doing this has no right to 
complain that they were mined or quoted out of context or were misconstrued or 
whatever (without any indication of malice on the part of the 
reporter/documentarian). Someone suggested a YouTube channel, but there are 
other ways to ensure digital data is at the fingers of the interested 
scientists, and this is an open-access database containing the edits that the 
producers would use, which interviewees can comment on to "correct" or 
"clarify," as needed.

  2) Produce their own short or report that is written/enacted in a form that 
is easily disseminatable to the lay public, as this is their audience. The 
technical report or program can be retained for scholastic purposes. In this 
manner, the scientist controls the outgoing interpretation of his/her work. The 
scientist otherwise puts his words in the hands, money and time of other 
individuals, and relinquishes the right to claim that (again, barring malice) 
the documentarian misconstrued his statements deliberately.

  A few last points to make: One should think that scientists should take 
classes in economics, business and such and try to look at things from other 
peoples' perspectives (perish the thought, again!), and documentarians 
interested in pursuing an interest in science should have SOME background, if 
just bachelors' courses, in applied or specific sciences. This allows both 
sides to have SOME competance to call the other on their s**t. Otherwise, it's 
hot air from BOTH of them.


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn
from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent
disinclination to do so." --- Douglas Adams (Last Chance to See)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 10:41:43 +0100
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Taking control of the documentary situation, an immodest proposal
>> Really? Beacuse unless I'm mistaken -- and including Matt's offered
>> illustration, which argues the purpose of the swollen cavity is
>> unknown (his word) -- It actually differs from a quote-mine because
>> they cut OFF a whole segment past the first statement. Nothing was
>> moved about, nor was it "chopped up" in the sense that what is stated
>> is misconstrued. What it was is that the caveats that normally go
>> along with popularistic discussions or press releases are simply
>> omitted, as is the actual data regarding the swollen cavity.
> For crying out loud, Jaime!
> Matt explained the "2nd brain" idea at some length, and then proceeded
> to show why it's wrong. Dangerous Ltd. omitted the comma I just wrote
> and everything behind it. This fits the definition of quote-mining
> perfectly. The textbook example of quote-mining is the creationist
> practice of (correctly!) citing the passage of On the Origin of Species
> where Darwin explains that the camera eye seems difficult or impossible
> to evolve and then omitting the next several pages where Darwin proceeds
> to explain how it could have happened despite it looking
> counterintuitive at first.
> As I commented on yesterday's SV-POW! post, however, I do agree with you
> that this quote mine may not have been deliberate. Based on their
> notpology, I think they were too stupid to understand that Matt ended up
> arguing _against_ the "2nd brain" idea -- they thought he was arguing
> _for_ it and just fluffing it up with cautionary language or something.
> They didn't listen to what they were recording, they didn't read the
> transcript, and they didn't listen to what they were broadcasting. It's
> hard to imagine that such people -- literate adults in business -- are
> even _capable_ of such stupidity, but here's the evidence. :-|
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