I have been thinking a lot about misrepresentation this week. In a world where "copying" and "pasting" is so easy, where splicing and clipping and reposting is second nature, how easy is it to misrepresent someone's point? I met with Anne in the beginning of last and we talked about my essay. She mentioned that she wished that I had used more quotes from Eli Clare in my writing about freakdom, to which I replied that I felt that using his words in my paper felt like a misrepresentation. But would I have been? In taking Clare's words and turning them around to use them to argue against him, would I have actually have been misrepresenting him? As I have thought more and more about this, I have decided that while I did not have malicious intent, in using his words, which were intended for a specific purpose to prove the opposite, I would be misrepresenting him. Any time that you take someone's words and turn them around to mean something which they had not meant to mean, that is a misrepresentation. Not only is this not what they intended to say, but it can often have a very negative effect.
The topics that we discuss in class are delicate and difficult. They can have emotional undertones which are not apparent to others in the class. They can tip toe between comfort zones, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, and other categories that I can't even begin to place my finger on them. With the delicacy of our conversations, it is really important that people's comments be left as-is. Written words lack vocal inflections and facial expressions, which also adds a level of difficulty to understanding one's true message. Additionally, with the majority of our class on the internet, especially a website which pops up so quickly in a simple google search, maintaining the original wording and therefore intent is really important. In order for the integerity of the writer's message to be maintained, words can't really be taken out of context or replaced with elipses. Copy and Paste are really only safe for a blogger when a whole thought is copied and pasted.