We live in a block and copy age. I know I do it when I write my blog. The opening sentence in a paragraph in someone's column or blog intrigues me, or even the whole paragraph intrigues me, and I block and copy the whole thing. It takes a second, and I've shared it with the world. I'm not quarreling with this useful tool.
I've had a good reminder, though, that there's often something to be said for transcribing text manually. I'm working on a challenge to a complaint right now. I've read the complaint a couple of times and underlined foolish or downright wrong allegations. Now that I'm really digging in to work, though, I turn to my trust drafting tool — a detailed outline. Since I only have a fax of the complaint, in that portion of my outline entitled "their allegations," I'm having to transcribe everything the opposition says that I think is relevant for my own task.
What's fascinating is that, by doing this manual transcription, I've discovered all sorts of problems with their complaint that I never noticed when I'd just read the thing. That is, I essentially had to re-write their complaint, through quotations and summaries, to discover just how flawed it really is. I'm never going to do that for my blog, which is a hobby, not a job, but it certainly is a reminder that deep reading, really deep reading, often involves more than just a glance, followed by some swift block and copy action.