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Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 17:56:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Straight 
Subject: Re: (urth) Get a bigger hamme

On Mon, 23 Dec 2002, Roy C. Lackey wrote:

> I cannot agree. Authorial intent is not to be dismissed so casually.
> Propagandists of one stripe or another have historically cited respected,
> even revered, sources in support of their cause. The Bible is a good
> example. Verses can be (and have been) quoted from it that would seem to
> justify a whole host of evils, from slavery to war to genocide. The Nazis
> quoted Nietzsche. Madison and Jefferson are often cited in church/state
> debates by atheists and believers alike as authorities in support of
> opposing agenda. Authorial intent, where it can be discerned, has everything
> to do with it. Quotes out of context and those that are not representative
> of the whole distort the meaning of the work.

I have to say that this cracks me up.  The difference between a bunch of
folks sitting around talking about which interpretation of a story makes
for the most fun reading and the examples you cite is so vast, I feel like
we need totally different words to describe them.

Authorial intent matters when you care deeply about what the author was
trying to say.  (e.g. biblical interpretation for Christians).  You may
have a keen interest in what Wolfe was trying to do in the Short Sun
books, but maybe Chris has a keen interest in coming up with what he
thinks is a more fun reading.

The important part is that this is all for fun.  We're not gonna use the
results to decide who lives and who dies.



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