The Corner

“Fisking”

A reader writes:

Jonah,

I fear you may be missing the point.

“Fisking” would seem to mean simply a technique made by possible by the miracle of cut-n-paste. A “fisking” occurs when a text is copied and then responded to (yes, more often than not in a smarmy fashion, but let’s let that pass) piece by piece.

Thus when Sullivan says he “fisked” the N.R. editorial he doesn’t mean he destroyed its arguments (though he may believe he has). Rather he is simply letting us know that he will be using this blog friendly method of response. He has copied the article and will be inserting his own comments in responce to lengthy quoted (cut-n-pasted) passages.

CHUNK OF ORIGINAL TEXT.

Comment.

NEXT CHUNK OF ORIGINAL TEXT.

Comment (most likely self-satisfied)

And so on . . .

Got it?

Me: Yes, I got it. But I’m afraid in the hot-house environment of the web, the original meaning has been overgrown by weeds. I was not referring to Sullivan’s intent when I criticized the word, but to its new conotation.

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