Sunday, July 30, 2017

The problem of the range of the Discourse

During a discussion of couples' interactions in the New Yorker, the author reminded the reader that the range of a discourse in presidential politics and the presidential White House extends to the previous occupants and their actions as well.
On Tuesday, after Melania [Trump] appeared again to reject the President [Donald Trump], this time on the tarmac in Rome with a slick “down low, too slow” move, Pete Souza, President Obama’s official photographer, posted a photo to his Instagram account of Barack and Michelle tenderly holding hands in Selma, Alabama, a gesture that needed no interpretation.
This is an example of the kind of interaction that is difficult to track or detect without establishing the precise discourse that the item belongs to. Here models of layers of discourse that need to be attended to are crucial.

Eventually, the Washington Post made it clear at a description level, by linking to these (and other) clips and photos, providing the interpretation for those that had missed the discourse contributions. So the hope of large scale ingesting of documents for interpretation is that discourse contributions that are clever in the way that Souza's was will eventually have the kind schoolmaster who spells out what the others suspected. (In some sense, the historians often end up in that role.)

Of course, not every hand-holding couple posted that day is a commentary on the Trumps' situation, but most likely, the George W. Bushes' holding hands would have been, within a specific window of time, of course.


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