Culture and Society

It’s about *teks-


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Ted Nelson via Scripting News:

Today’s nightmarish new world is controlled by ‘webmasters’, tekkies unlikely to understand the niceties of text issues and preoccupied with the Web’s exploding alphabet soup of embedded formats.

Nelson makes some good points about the uses of text. Later though, in his discussion of linking, he makes some troubling assertions.

I want to write a more thoughtful post in response, from the stand point of someone with a lot of experience with digital and analog text, and the worlds of vellum and and silicon. I’m going to have to find some time to sit down and write a bit about hypertext, and glosses, and manuscripts, and linking and annotation. This is a good opportunity to try using the Radio Story feature, for longer posts.

But in the meantime, I want to point to the proto Indo-European root for text, and subtle and architect and technology (but probably not badger)—they all come from *-teks. Yes, that’s right, Nelson’s “tekkie,” an epithet that always irritates me, is in fact derived from the same linguistic DNA that gave us his revered text.

And while you’re waiting for my magnum opus[sic], go read Stalking the Digital Rhetoric. It’s about text.


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