Aug 12, 2007

In the making of these errors


Watching the Sparta-opera "300" for a brief minute -- the oracle danced in smoke while I tied my shoes -- I thought the question of accuracy/athenticity should only be interesting to historians. Or classicists. Or long wandering and homesick Spartans and Persians who want to be represented accuarately and fairly.
            What's interesting to me, what's a question I would like to see answered, is why the errors are those errors. What was being pulled out, played with, over and under emphasized, thematized, or ideologically warpped, in the making of these errors. Why was it done this way. And how are these errors compared to the errors of similar works.
            Of course it's anachronistic. But what does that anachronism mean?

My journalism advisor wanted me to call her back. He was reviewing my story because he was supposed to, but also because it was one of those inter-official, future-shape-of-the-place fights he was very interested in. He read what I quoted her as saying, four or five paragraphs in the middle of the story, and pointed out she was wrong.
            I know, I said.
            He pointed out there were holes in her argument. How does she get from here to here? She jumps. He wanted me to call her back, challenge the gaps in her thinking, and demand a better argument.
            I didn't call her back. That was her argument, I'd heard it out and presented it and there it was, and I was doing the reporting, not the arguing. If the argument was going to fall apart -- or, more important, if it was going to succeed -- it was important to put it down just like it was, so it could be looked at, so the question could be asked: Why are these errors being made? The accuracy of her analysis had these gapping holes, yeah, but the holes deserved to be looked at, and it was my job to present the argument as it was, not counter it or strengthen it.
            Why was it thought out this poorly? Why are there these ugly errors? How do these errors compare to previous errors? What does this thinking mean?

It's not that errors are unimportant, but the fact something's wrong may be less important, less insightful and the least interesting point possible.