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Re: how/what

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 19:28:14 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: love26@gorge.net (William Loughborough), WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

         It always amuses me to read about "separating" content, structure 
and presentation .... when what we want is content that can be presented 
according to user needs, and structure which can be flexible to user needs. 
If the author provides the flexibility in presentation and structure, it is 
immaterial whether or not they are separated ....

         Incidentally, my precocious student was in the lab today, and had 
already looked up Duke Ellington on the web since I told him that was who 
was in the top hat on the web site... I sat him next to me, and pulled up 
the site and let it download while he was working on a game (that was not 
challenging to him) ... and he listened to all the spots - his favorite was 
the wa-wa trumpets .... but he also listened carefully to Mercer's piece 
.... studied the pictures, and commented on the guy in the upper right 
corner (not online now so don't have the name), and why he looked so "ugly" 
... I told him that when he got old, he would look just like that (this is 
a freckle-faced boy with sandy hair who can ignore the obvious difference) 
.... and he said, but he really needs a shave .... Thanks for sharing that 
site !!!


At 06:43 AM 9/20/01 -0700, William Loughborough wrote:
>When/Why "How" Becomes "What"
>A lot of our discussions re content/presentation "separation" is based on 
>a notion held by us left-brained zealots that there's some "reality" out 
>there in what Korzybski called "event space" which may be talked about. An 
>equally held view is that creators put stuff into event space for which 
>the "why" has no clear map to other events: in other words one has decided 
>to play/dance/act/paint a particular something without having any 
>description/excuse/reason therefor.
>Frequently used exemplars are Beethoven's Fifth and The Mona Lisa. Most 
>critics think "Moby Dick" is an allegory dealing with Captain Ahab, I 
>think it's about whales' relationship to man/nature. I don't know what 
>Melville thought.
>The point is that the sound bite I use of Tim Berners-Lee ("If you write 
>what you mean, rather than what you want done with it, it can be 
>repurposed so much better") doesn't take notice of entities created 
>without "meaning" in the sense I think Tim intends and for which WCAG is 
>Many authors think they are "creating" in the pure sense that Van Gogh 
>might have (often artists don't even title stuff, let alone try to 
>"explain" it). Frequently this is vanity/sloth. Usually they can clarify 
>but are often beset with time constraints and laziness so that something 
>obvious to them is left as a painful "exercise for the reader".
>Perhaps this a "DUH!" exercise on my part, but I wonder if some mention of 
>it should be made as a sort of "exception" to the "separate 
>content/structure/presentation" imperative?

Anne Pemberton

Received on Thursday, 20 September 2001 20:12:18 UTC

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