Exactly. Carolyn, you hit it on the money. And I will grant that it’s very
easy to see this as no problem, as good, as part and parcel of the
revolution against hierarchy and authority, etc. But the matter is complex.
Ownership, power, yes, sure — but of more compelling interest to me is the
question of quality. The fact is that there are — everywhere, in our
wiring — gradations and hierarchies. We all recognize that there are
better and worse ideas, expressions, more and less powerful expressions.
And is authority necessarily a bad thing? It has such a pejorative pall
around it these days. But mass hypocrisy prevails. X spends the morning
writing against the authority of Y, his text, and then switches on the
Bulls game and swoons over Jordan’s authority over the parquet. Maybe
reading, like sex, out to be consensual. If an author says keep your hands
off my text, then we must read that author as he wishes to be read. Another
might say: “Fine, index me, cross reference me, color code me, bold face
me, delete me, interpolate your responses to me right into my text…”

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