June 23, 2013

"Where are the great tags that if clicked on would produce a store of raw material that would enable me to write a book?"

I say, when asked "And how does Mrs Secord qualify as 'women in the military'?"

Women in the military is a long-standing tag on this blog, and, I say, "I didn't want to create a new tag. It's just broad interpretation of existing tags to avoid creating new tags."

There are various theories of tagging. When I first started doing tags on this blog, I tried to keep them as general as possible. I had a politics tag! Sometimes, I leaned — overleaned — toward specificity, making a new tag every time I named a person — or a plant or animal or city or food or body part or item of clothing —  but tag proliferation seems mostly wrong.

I say mostly, because I regret all the names of human individuals that end up only appearing once. I'll call that the Ashley Dupre problem. But I do not regret having a parrot tag. And I do not regret having breasts and nipples. I do regret not having a tag for commenter thinks he's making the joke that I already made.

My personal history of tagging — generally, then specifically — explains why there's only one tag for George W. Bush — Bush — and over 70 tags for Barack Obama. There are 10 tags that are in the form "Obama is like X" (not counting the "Obama is not like X" tag). Example: Obama is like Bush (which is on 61 posts!) There are 7 tags in the "Obama the X" form. Example: Obama the boyfriend (which is on 47 posts!).

Ultimately, I arrived at the idea that the best tags are the ones that pull up a set of posts, going back over a nice stretch of time, that I could imagine mining for material to write a book. Women in the military has some potential to be a tag like that.

What are the best tags, in my view, using that standard? Maybe that's a trade secret. If I told you, you could do your research in my archive, but — to give some obvious examples — here are some: racial politics, gender politics, gender difference, lightweight religion, religion substitutes, single-earner household, etiquette, apologies, suicide, prostitution. To suggest some of the weird potential: There are 30 posts with the tag bathtub, 94 with excrement, 67 with snakes, 40 with phallic symbol.

Then there are the tags that might have been. Only 1 post has female appetite diseases. That should have gone on many posts, but I forgot I started it. Only 1 has personal innovation lifestyle. What even is that? Some trend that never trended?

Of all the missed opportunities, as I complete this post, I see I don't have a tag for tags. I'll have to go with the old school tag blogging, which dates back to my days of over-generalization and resistance to specificity. I need a tag for I'm resistant or something. Ah, the stubbornness tag. And the ultimate perfect tag — previously used 3 times — I'm not making a tag for this.

82 comments:

Scott said...

When you tag, you're not making a map of your content. You're mapping your mind.

betamax3000 said...

Although used Sparingly, the "I'm not making a tag for this" Tag Strikes Me as Ann's Version of Instapundit's "Heh."

Icepick said...

I was going to state that I was quite happy being a person with only one entry under my tag. And then I discovered I had TWO entries under my tag! The horror! Now I'm not going to be happy until I have THREE entries under Icepick. But will three really be enough? Or am I now one an endless quest, with a craving that can't be satisfied until I reach Aleph-Naught?

Palladian said...

I'm skeptical.

Palladian said...

Insect politics.

Ann Althouse said...

The policy is always to have a tag for a commenter who gets mentioned on the front page. That's never considered an Ashley Dupre problem.

Palladian said...

My favorite tag is "Palladian".

Scott said...

Denial is making a tag for something called "I'm not making a tag for this". There should be a 12-step program for bloggers.

Ann Althouse said...

It is, however, a problem if I name a commenter on the front page but don't put a tag for him. That's always only an oversight.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian is trying to reveal my "trade secret" tags.

I deliberately refrained from mentioning "insect politics."

ave you heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics....

The first rule of insect politics is you don't talk about insect politics....

No shirts, no shoes.... Insect politics will go on as long as they have to....

betamax3000 said...

67 with 'snakes', but not one with 'Baby Spiders.'

From Discover (8/31/12): New Scientist published a story yesterday stating that rosacea – a common skin disease characterised by red blotches on one’s face – may be “caused” ... by “tiny bugs closely related to spiders living in the pores of your face.” Tiny bugs that “crawl about your face in the dark”, lay eggs in your pores, and release a burst of faeces when they die.

I Fear This More than Snakes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Denial is making a tag for something called "I'm not making a tag for this"..."

Only the first time.

This can't be the basis of a need for a 12-step program because it can't possibly be an addiction, since it can only happen once.

Once the "I'm not making a tag for this" is made, it's made. Future uses are only uses, not makings.

Palladian said...

Strangely early in the morning.

rhhardin said...

Desmond Dupre is Alfred Deller's lutenist.

Though he seems in that clip to have made Julean Bream's discovery that guitar is a lot easier, having shown that he can in fact play the lute.

Icepick said...

Once the "I'm not making a tag for this" is made, it's made. Future uses are only uses, not makings

So the Professor is still in the "Denial" stage.

(I could make the standard stupid joke about rivers, Africa and whatnot, but I shall refrain. Once a day I like to skip the obvious bad joke. This is that once for today.)

Ann Althouse said...

"67 with 'snakes', but not one with 'Baby Spiders.' "

There isn't even a "spiders" tag. Spiders are generalized into "arachnids."

I had to make "arachnids" because when I made "insects" -- during the extreme generalization era -- I forgot about the future spiders.

I could have used the concept of expansive interpretation — which you can call the Laura Secord principle -- and thrown spiders in with insects, but I don't like that variation on the Laura Secord principle. It's bad science, and you know this is a blog with a science AND a bad science tag,

Mitchell the Bat said...

(1) They taught us about it in high school but the Dewey Decimal System is one of those things best taken for granted.

(2) When I was starting out as a first-year, I was introduced to this third-year. She was general editor of the law review and she had outlined every course she ever took. Table of contents. Table of authorities. Bound with a black plastic spine with a clear plastic cover.

She was a very nice and generous person and she gave me several of them but she wasn't all that good-looking which was a shame, really.

betamax3000 said...

Not Tagging, but I've Been Keeping a Text File of Keywords from Various Althouse Posts that I Got a Kick Out of for One Reason or Another. I can then later Google with the 'Keyword' and 'Althouse' to Bring the Post to the Internet Surface (often with additional 'Finds' of Sometimes-Disturbing Nature).

It is My Own Althouse Parallel Universe.

edutcher said...

I'm proud to say I have my own tag, along with kentuckyliz and some others, but I must say I like "these kids today".

If we're all growing old together, we might as well have a good laugh about it.

Bob Ellison said...

Hashtag abuse.

Quayle said...

My favorite tag is "I eviscerate the New York Times and its writer."

That's a tag, isn't it?


Oh, that should be a tag!

Lem said...

It's just broad interpretation of existing tags to avoid creating new tags.

Commodiously Constitutional.

Chief Roberts would approve.

betamax3000 said...

Sometimes I Just Pick a Word That I Find Funny and Add Althouse to it to See What Comes of It.

I Am Not Going To Make an Excuse for This.



rhhardin said...

Two great sexes animate the world. - Milton, somewhere.

A tragic start to any career in taxonomy.

Scott said...

"This can't be the basis of a need for a 12-step program because it can't possibly be an addiction, since it can only happen once."

The creation of the tag is apiece of its use. You don't create tags and then not use them. At least if you're normal.

Let's hypothetically assume that denial is the singular signature characteristic of alcoholism. Its expression indicates the presence of the disease, regardless of whether alcohol is used subsequently.

You see, I can beat popular tropes to death too, Ann.

Phil 3:14 said...

Tags say more about the tagger than the tagee

Tag, you're it!

lemondog said...

Need a tag search function to locate existing blogs on subjects not under recent discussion, e.g., dogs.

Woman off the cliff tag?

Chip S. said...

Needs a "meta" tag.

ricpic said...

Who knew the purpose of tags was to eventually write a book?

Lem said...

... a problem if I name a commenter on the front page but don't put a tag for him.

Those wily Snowdian commenters.

edutcher said...

I take it the list of tags is Eyes Only.

Quayle said...

A Book?

You mean I didn't have to read the blog every day?

I could have just waited and read the book?

I think I'll just wait longer and see the movie.

I'm picturing Scarlett Johansson as Ann and Eric Bana as Mead.

Lem said...

In my commodious mind the Cafes and "I'm not making a tag for this" are second cousins.

Lem said...

Somebody stop me before I commit commodiocide.

Scott said...

Yeah, my mind is a commode too sometimes.

MayBee said...

I'm afraid this post is going to cause you to get those gross skin tag blog ads.

Lem said...

Lets not forget the incommodious/ how dare she tags... The "Lawsuits I hope will fail" tag... which are second cousins to the notorious "bullshit" family of tags.

A "bullshit" tag never fails to peak my interest.

Saint Croix said...

I got a tag!

But I would really, really, really hate to be the subject of Althouse's first book.

Cripes, I would be bleeding and wounded and scarred and impotent and just shot full of who knows what. I'd be hobbling along, whimpering, "Althouse did a number on me."

I'd be reduced to "oh yeah?" and scribbling in the margins. Then I'd have to go up to people and show them what I had scribbled in the margins. I'd be haunting the Althouse book tour, with my scribbled commentary.

People would be like, "Who is that guy?"

Althouse: "One of my fans."

betamax3000 said...

I just clicked on the "unwritten books" Tag, Thinking there Might Have Been Previous Posts, Maybe About Imaginary Books by Fictional Authors within Real Books, or Some Such, Maybe a David Foster Wallace reference.

Sadly, this is the Only Post So Far.

But My Curiosity did Lead Me to This Website:

http://www.unwritten.org.uk/about.html

Pretty Darned Interesting.

Next will Be Unpainted Paintings.




Pete said...

"I was wrong." Oh. Wait.

Saint Croix said...

I clicked on the unwritten books tag, too, expecting to see this.

Bad tagging tag!

That post was a response to a book project I pitched Althouse. I thought maybe she and I could write a pro-life/pro-choice book, back and forth, responding and trying to find some frickin' consensus or something.

"Blogging is my mistress!" she said. Or something. Anyway, I got shot down. But you know writing that book would have been painful. And maybe undoable.

But I think an Althouse book is an awesome idea.

Find 20 great topics, and do a chapter on each one. Meade, feminism, abortion, Obama is my boyfriend, Hillary, race, insect politics, etc. You do serious topics and frivolous topics, like you do on your blog every day. Give people a flavor of your blog. And you know you better cite some commentators!

Legally she owns all the stuff we write so don't even think of asking Althouse for a check for using your stuff. Unless you're a liberal with no respect for property rights, then it's okay.

Chip S. said...

Pete FTW.

Saint Croix said...

the best tags are the ones that pull up a set of posts, going back over a nice stretch of time, that I could imagine mining for material to write a book.

Yeah, but now you got to read your frickin' blog to do this. You got to read everything! You'll be sidetracked deleting obscene shit from 2006.

"Neo-Nazis?! Son of a bitch!"

Saint Croix said...

I nominate one chapter for Crack.

Saint Croix said...

12:27 comment is unrelated to the 12:26 comment.

That's like a line from P.C.U.. Which is awesome, for those libertarian political junkies who have not seen it.

Lem said...

At the Cafes you find Whole Foods, pleasant bike rides and dog park introductions.

While at the second cousins "I'm not making a tag for this" you find hostile musicians and people who enjoy petting/caressing.

See why they are second cousins?

Saint Croix said...

I think you're going to need more frickin' chapters.

Trooper York chapter. And is Betamax Trooper?

That would be like ripping off Darth Vader's mask and finding out John Wayne had been playing him.

Saint Croix said...

Madison, Wisconsin chapter

betamax3000 said...

From http://www.unwritten.org.uk/about.html, an example:

"Etcetera" by Anon.

Unfortunately I Can't copy-and-paste, but the Concept involves increased Longevity.

From this piece:

"...A Silly Example might be if a Librarian has to Stock all kinds of Books, but after Two Hundred Years the Librarian Might Only Be Interested in Poetry Books with Red Covers. He Can't Imagine the Value of Any Other Kind of Book...

...Etcetera is a Judge. She's Only Ten but She Has to Rule on Rape, Murder and Fraud Cases. The Book Would Be Written Through Her Eyes..."

Some Fascinating Stuff there at the Site. And I wouldn't Have Found it Without Having Been Spurred by One of Ann's Tags (even if the Tag is only a few Hours Old).

betamax3000 said...

The Site Kinda Reads Like an Althouse Cafe with the Caption "What Unwritten Book Would You Write?"

Inga said...

Well if Betamax IS Trooper, I like Betamax much better. He should kill off Baron Zemo in one of his scenarios here.

Inga said...

A chapter, "Sockpuppets I've loved"?

Inga said...

Or a chapter, "Edutcher sees Sockpuppets". Or " Edutcher is always wrong".

betamax3000 said...

RE: ""Denial is making a tag for something called "I'm not making a tag for this"..."

Regarding Denial:

I am Betamax3000 and I do NOT have an Althouse Commenting Addiction.

I Can Stop Anytime I Want.

betamax3000 said...

See: I'm Stopping.

betamax3000 said...

Jeez: I Already Have the Shakes Real Bad.

betamax3000 said...

I'd Like to Think that Ann is at http://www.unwritten.org.uk/about.html right Now, Perhaps reading Barbara Thompson's "Needlework":

"I want to Write a Book about the Laton Jacket, a very beautiful Jacobean embroidered Jacket in the V & A. It was made around 1610 and the V&A also owns a Painting of the Woman Wearing it...

...I Definitely Want someone to Die Rather Nastily in My Book -- by Swallowing an Embroidery Needle...."

This Would Have a "Laton Jacket" Tag.

Baron Zemo said...

Betamax3000 is his own thing.

Saint Croix said...

Inga hijacking tag.

betamax3000 said...

I Could Stop if I Wanted to; I Just Don't Want to Right Now.



(hands tremoring)

Saint Croix said...

Actually you can't tag for Inga hijackings. They just happen.

I picture her with an Uzi. "This thread is mine!"

I am cool with hijackings so Inga is one of my favorite liberals.

On this thread she has not hijacked yet. But just you wait.

betamax3000 said...

(Grabs Vodka and Candy Cigarettes. Sits Cross-Legged on Floor, Rocking Gently Back-and-Forth)

Baron Zemo said...

Betamax3000 has his own style which is different and engaging.

Baron Zemo said...

Other people are best ignored.

Otherwise they take over the thread with their neediness and pathos.

Saint Croix said...

A chapter, "Sockpuppets I've loved"?

I think Ritmo is the King of the Sockpuppets. Or Mobies. Maybe he's the King of the Mobies and somebody else is the King of the Sockpuppets.

When you have a Strong Will Like I Have, it is impossible to be a Sockpuppet or a Moby. I got to be me! And my personality won't fit into a sock, anyway.

I used to want to be a diplomat--I was going to take the test and everything--and my liberal friend laughed at me. Apparently you have to be diplomatic if you want to be a diplomat.

This was before John Bolton proved you did not actually have to be a diplomat to be a diplomat. In fact you can totally be obnoxious and all the diplomats have to nod their hands, diplomatically.

You might think I hijacked this thread but I am Back On Point.

Inga said...

Heh heh, St Croix.

betamax3000 said...

I Stop Commenting and the Tiny Invisible Ants Begin to Crawl All Over My Skin. Baby Spiders Scurry Up My Legs: No One Else Sees Them But they Are Right There, Clear as Day. The People Who Claim Not to See Them are Purposely Messing with My Mind. They Want Me To Think This is All In My Head, But the Baby Spiders are in There, Too: I can Feel Them Behind My Eyes. I Blink Uncontrollably.

betamax3000 said...

When it Gets Real Bad I Can Taste the Baby Spiders. It is All I CAN Taste. I Brush My Teeth But Baby Spiders Come Out of the Toothpaste Tube. Water Only Makes them Angry. My Tongue is Swollen and Will Not Follow My Commands.

betamax3000 said...

The Scariest Moment is When All The Baby Spiders Along My Body Stop Moving at the Same Exact Moment. They Just Stand There, Waiting. It is Nerve-Wracking.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

"The Scariest Moment is When All The Baby Spiders Along My Body Stop Moving at the Same Exact Moment. They Just Stand There, Waiting. It is Nerve-Wracking."

6/23/13, 1:56 PM

Gosh, that so reminds me of a big ass centipede I had in my house, it actually reared up on its legs and stood still, just before I hit it with my shoe.

betamax3000 said...

Don't Get Me Going on the Centipedes. They Crawl Through Your Hair and Wriggle into Your Ears, where They Fight the Baby Scorpions.

Saint Croix said...

You probably did not think when you started this thread that Inga would be smashing a centipede with her shoe.

And we call that, Chapter 29.

Inga said...

NO, I won't do it, I won't hijack this thread. I'll leave that to Betamax:)

Saint Croix said...

and as she waves her Uzi around she passes the box of baby spiders to the robot

Saint Croix said...

Trooper was funny. You didn't like Trooper?

What the hell happened to Trooper? Chapter 41.

Chip Ahoy said...

Mine turned out to be an awesome tag, click on it and BLAM all sorts of things start happening all over the place you don't even have to read it. I'm imagining. Somebody here said that. You see, to access a tag you must have one already there in front of you to access. You can go, "show us a specific tag" by using the search feature first, calling up an item, enjoy it, then click on its tag.

I'm talking out of my butt again. Wait.

Ha. The Althouse search (to attain the tag) is distracting enough. The tag is awesome. Thank you for that. It's visual! Just like that guy said.

You know what else is visual? ))) ot alert ((( Last night this bird was rude to me. She was hot to trot and I wasn't it. I do understand the situation back and forth, up and down, all around, through and through, and my feelings are not hurt, at all, on account of her being a whore, still ... she was bouncing around with glow lights around her wrist, she was hooting it up to people 8 stories below, a large crowd, her purse behind her, a row of people at the edge of a terrace railing observing a concert. Her body bounced against mine and her bouncing, honestly, for all that bouncing was light as a feather. She had the weight of a two year old child, not intrusive at all. Not one bit. I snapped a few photographs and was about to leave when a tall guy on the other side questioned if I had enough light. Oh! It was a dark and calm unstormy night. I showed him the results, he nodded approvingly, and I mentioned to him I was here since the building went up and this is the fourth festival I've seen here and this is by a leap better than the rest, which were all good. And the girl behind me said sotto voce, "Well why don't you just leave then." I think. I looked at her and she was bouncing. I left as intended and she took up the space and bounced and hooted for the crowd below.

Ripe for the picking.

But here's the visual. I could have simply extended my arm and rotated 45˚mechanically as a clock and with no effort of exertion at all knocked her right over the railing, picked up her purse and walked off. Everyone's attention would be on the girl flying over the railing wrangling in a broken heap below. With glowing neon bracelets.

A previous time, someone set up a full frame camera on a tripod snapping a picture every 2 seconds, so a wide angle lens too, and then left it there all day imagining it secured just because the place is locked up as a fortress. They obviously underestimate the wiliness and resourcefulness and desperation of yuts. I could have easily just taken the whole thing. I do have an interest, you know.

betamax3000 said...

Ann Althouse Alternate World Robot says:

In One of My Posts From Earlier Today I Discussed the Raw Material that Lies within the Tags I Have Created, and Posited that They Could Be a Rich Trove of Material for a Yet-To-Be-Written Book.

(Of Course, I was Coy about Which Mineral-Rich Tags I was Withholding from Said Discussion -- Palladian Did Not Stumble Upon ALL of Them).

In Bringing the Topic Full Circle I Provided the Post the Tag "Unwritten Books".

This Tag Prompted Betamax3000 to Forage the Internet In Search of Unwritten Books, where he Came across "The UnWritten Book Project" (http://www.unwritten.org.uk/about.html).

Is this Concept of Unwritten Books Best Seen as Books Waiting to Be Written, Books Wanting to Be Written, or Simply Half-Thought Ideas That (Writely) Will Never See the Light of the Literary Day?

Is this Blog in itself an Example of The Unwritten Book, often Coalescing But Never Conforming into the Requisite Shape?

Or are these Thoughts Merely a Reason to Use the New "Unwritten Books" Tag Twice in its Inaugural Day?

Tags: unwritten books, I'm Skeptical, Palladian, betamax3000.


How is that for Meta?

betamax3000 said...

The Very First "Althouse Robot" Comment Passes By without Nary a Ripple In the Water.

My Antennae Wilt.

bhollis said...

If you have a Bush tag and an Obama is like Bush tag, isn't that two Bush tags?

bhollis said...

If you have a Bush tag and an Obama is like Bush tag, isn't that two Bush tags?

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.