“at the risk of being meta”
Posted: 18 November 2013 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I found this sentence to be baffling to me. In a Salon piece on Obamacare, the author is saying that Democratic party folks are not wavering in their support. And then this sentence.

Dems aren’t anywhere close to a tipping point, even if things don’t get better soon. Just to be sure though (and at the risk of being meta) I asked Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn, about this on MSNBC this Saturday. Here’s what he had to say.

I must be missing something obvious here, but I don’t understand the use of “meta” or “being meta” here. this urban dictionary definition seems closest

The problem with being meta is that if you add sufficient layers of abstraction or complexity between the original event and the convenient abstractions you create to clarify or explain it, you eventually lose all connection to the original. Generally, you need no more than two or three levels in writing.

It still doesn’t explain how it’s being used in the Salon article, but closer. I’ve never heard it used in this way before. Anyone?

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Posted: 18 November 2013 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think he means that instead of talking about Obamacare, he’s talking about talking about Obamacare (or perhaps talking about talking about talking about Obamacare).  That one-step-removed, “about-about” sense is pretty common: I think it came out of the computer world ("metadata" = data about data) and was popularized by Douglas Hofstadter’s Goedel, Escher, Bach.

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Posted: 18 November 2013 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Many thanks, Dr. T!

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