MAY 16, 2009 4:57PM

You Would Call It a “Rider”

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Michael: And that’s how it ends.

Melissa: No, because we haven’t gotten back to the title!

Michael: The funny thing is, by the time we post this, there will already be a title.

Melissa: I wonder what it will be!

Michael: But you already know!

Melissa: I do?

Michael: Yes.

Melissa: What is it?

Michael: Super-M’s!

Melissa: Aaaagghh!

Michael: I’m just kidding, of course.

Melissa: Yeah, I know. It’s SuperText.

Michael: I told you!

Melissa: Now, I’m kidding.

Michael: Hahaha!

     Melissa?

Melissa: Yes?

Michael: You’re starting to put too much punctuation again. The question marks are okay—unless they’re being paired up with an exclamation point.

     And then they’d better warrant an interrobang.

Melissa: Or a regular expression.

Michael: What about irregular expressions?

Melissa: (sighs) That makes me think about wip148 and 149.

Michael: Don’t start talking about any fecking music stuff.

Melissa: Music “stuff”?! Uh-oh, there’s an interrobang.

Michael: That seems gratuitous to me.

Melissa: “There’s another one over there.”

Michael: (exhales) We’re really going to be throwing readers off if we’re constantly quoting lines from our favorite movies.

Melissa: Maybe we should have footnotes at the end.

Michael: No.

Melissa: Or we could make them links to the movies?

Michael: (thinks about it) That’s true.

Melissa: And then people will get movie recommendations at the same time!

Michael: This isn’t another opportunity to load this up with your . . . pork barrel activities.

 Melissa: You wouldn’t say that.

Michael: I just did!

Melissa: You would call it a “rider.”

Michael: You remembered that!

     Get rid of the fecking exclamation point!

     And put an exclamation point there.

     Exactly.

Melissa: Are we ever going to get back to the title of this blog?

Michael: What are you talking about? I thought we already did!

Melissa: Yes, again and again.

Michael: It’s called “SuperText!

Melissa: No, it’s called “Question-Mark Exclamation-Point”!

Michael: Question-Mark Exclamation-Point?

Melissa: Yeah, don’t you get it?!

Michael: Well, yeah. But nobody else will. And we’re not writing about this. We’re supposed to be writing about what we’re writing about.

Melissa: But we have to settle on the title first.

Michael: We already have.

Melissa: Yes, Question-Mark Exclamation-Point.

Michael: Okay, but see, we each get one vote, and we can cancel each other out.

Melissa: Hmm.

Michael: So just wait a minute. You probably want something that’ll be easy to find on Google, right?

Melissa: Yeah. That’s why it should be neglOOk.

Michael: Don’t bring that up, please. Fecking . . .

Melissa: Okay, predicate-mutator then.

Michael: No, and not any other variant, either! I want to focus on the fact that we’re writing about what we’re going to write about.

Melissa: It seems that “meta” is inevitable, then.

Michael: Should we go back to Meta-M’s, then?

Melissa: No, because we’re not meta-ing “M’s.”

Michael: But the ”M’s” are us, and we are practicing metaness.

Melissa: That’s it!

Michael: What?

Melissa: Metaness!

Michael: Metaness!

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Comments

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@Cindy:

Cindy: I think there are a lot of self-indulgent private jokes in this and the previous two posts. Why?

Melissa: Probably because these are simply a record of our conversations.

Michael: As we’re working, we do attempt to be aware that there is an audience who doesn’t know everything we know, but even then, inside jokes will slip in. Now, if you’re talking about the movie quotes, those are admittedly inside jokes, but we attempt to illuminate them by linking to the source of each quote.

Melissa: We didn’t start doing it in the earlier posts because we hadn’t yet come up with that idea, and we decided to leave those alone to preserve the authenticity of the process. But perhaps retroactively hyperlinking those quotes would help?

Cindy: And I like the idea of footnoting, actually, if it's an alternative to having no clue what you guys are talking about.

Melissa: The greatest challenge for us has been attempting to come up with a system that documents the strands of conversations over time as accurately as possible. The lettering system is far from perfect, we know, but it’s the best way we’ve found so far to represent the discussion and meta-discussions in a linear textual form.

Michael: Ideally, if we’ve done our job right, you should be able to ignore the letters most of the time. Some of the jokes are contained in the lettering, so being aware of them can clear things up if you get confused. When we read them, we pretty much ignore the letters.

Cindy: Or maybe I'm the butt of the joke for continuing to read?

Michael: This seems to be common in modern art, too. People feeling that maybe the artists are playing a joke on them. This was especially true of my favorite artist, Cy Twombly, whose childlike work was criticized by many, even people who know a thing or two about art.

Melissa: Yes, and few people realize the deadly seriousness with which he approaches his work.

Michael: Yes, a very serious person.

Melissa: Like Michael.

Cindy: I'm writing these comments in all sincerity. I don't know if you're getting a laugh out of the bafflement of your readers at their expense--or what.

Melissa: No, we would never laugh at our readers.

Michael: We don’t mock people. We don’t make fun of people. We don’t even make fun of the people we dislike. We just ignore them.

Cindy: I'll try to be patient and forge on, and I hope you're patient with me. It's honest feedback, at least. If you post it, that means you want it to be read...er, right?

Melissa: Yes, Cindy. We do appreciate honesty.

Michael: And your feedback is helpful. If we only ever got compliments on our work, we would never know what people didn’t like about it. If it makes you feel any better, I probably felt the same way while making these earlier pieces that you feel now reading them. But I still think they have value, if for no other reason than as documentation of the genesis of metaness.

Melissa: Yes, documenting the creative process as transparently as possible can reveal a lot of floundering and wondering. We didn’t plan this out in advance—it was a very spontaneous, impromptu process, and we were as surprised as you by the results.

Cindy: I've always claimed "obtuse" as my middle name, probably defensively. I'm smart, but I don't make synaptic jumps easily.

Michael: There are different kinds of smart. There’s book smarts, maths smarts, even people smarts. I don’t think you need to feel down on yourself for not quickly understanding every single thing you encounter. I don’t understand more than I do understand.

Melissa: To quote the Socratic cliché, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”