16 December 2004

Watchmen and annotation

Matt G. just sent me this site that annotated every panel of Watchmen [Amazon]. I had previously posted about an annotation of V for Vendetta. The reader definitely benefits from such Cliff Notes to accompany the detailed research of Moore's writing and all that's added by the artists.

I've wanted Cliff Notes for several other things. My appreciation of hypertext would seem to drive that impulse because of the way that it unobtrusively annotates documents, but I think that it's the impulse for background information that's primary. There is great benefit to looking at a page of text or listening to a piece of music and having the contextual reference material quickly available. Certainly, a goal should be to be well-studied and have a wide range of annotations learned, but as they say the days of knowing everything there is to know are long gone.

The first time I had the Cliff Notes impulse was when I first watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 in college. I understood half the references, was bemused by another half, and completely missed the third half. Some (Crow yelling John Bonham! Moby Dick!! during a scene with a percussion-only track) I knew that only a few people watching would understand. Or maybe I just thought I had some rare knowledge of Led Zeppelin references (disc 2, track 3).

My recent transcription of The Kleptones' "Question" is also part of that obsession. Although it is still missing much of the source material (thanks Mike), it's intended to function as a hypertext map of the song. The intent is similar to the maps of the Bach works available for study that I posted a while back.

But annotation is sometimes difficult (including simple blog annotation). We need a program that does it automatically...

[ posted by sstrader on 16 December 2004 at 12:00:48 PM in Culture & Society ]