Reed Richardson and the Name Anchor

Reed F. Richardson - Artist's RenderingEvery Friday, rain or shine, Eric Alterman makes a post on his blog at The Nation magazine. It has three parts. First, he links to the articles he has published that week. Sometimes, this means there is no part one. Second, he talks about the music and theater he’s seen that week. I call this his “Yes, as a matter of fact, my life is a hell of a lot better than yours” feature. One time, he wrote about a 20 minute conversation he had with Bruce Springsteen, which I thought was adding insult to an already debilitating injury. And the third is, “Now Heeere’s Reed!” This is the part where Reed F. Richardson writes a column.

Why doesn’t Reed have his own blog? I don’t know. Reed is a mysterious person. (See “Artists Rendering” on the left.) But through a few email correspondences and a close reading of his and Eric’s columns, I have developed a theory. Reed was once an intern at The Nation (fact). He worked closely with Eric Alterman (conjecture). Eric doesn’t have a lot of people he likes there (conjecture) because he is very vocal about what fucktards most liberals are (fact). Reed became Eric’s protege (conjecture).

I’ve been reading Eric Alterman for years. He is a great writer with lots of insights and a clear view of the way the world works. I think I’ve read all of his books. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, I read What Liberal Media? again. As a result of this, I more look forward to Reed’s column each week than I do Eric’s. This isn’t because Reed is necessarily better, but he is much more likely to have a take on something that is different than my own; I’ve so internalized Eric Alterman’s work that I usually know what his take will be. (But not always!)

From time to time, I want to directly link to Reed’s column. Unfortunately, this has been impossible, given that it was just tacked on to the end of Eric’s blog entry. And it was even worse, because Eric’s blog uses a “fold” where you have to click to see more (thankfully not true pagination). This meant that Reed’s articles didn’t even so up when linking to the base blog.

You know me: I am a persistent pedant. I looked at the source of Alterman’s blog to see if perhaps there was a name anchor hidden there. These are the things that I commonly use for footnotes; they are links that allow you to skip down the page.[1] This is very easy to do, and I recommend it to bloggers, many of whom have this annoying habit of using an asterisk with no link. Do this:

Link: <a href=”#linkname”&gt[1]</a>

Footnote: <a name=”linkname”&gt[1]</a>

Note that # character is in the link, but not the footnote!

Anyway, back to the story. Eric Alterman’s blog had no name anchor for Reed’s column. So I wrote to Reed and asked him about adding a name anchor to the blog posts. I knew that Reed was an editor of some kind and so he might be a bit of a pedant. I still don’t know, but he cared enough to asked his editor. And to my surprise, the editor thought it would be a good thing for their interns to learn. And two weeks later, inside the Alterman blog post is:

<a name=”NowHeresReed”>Now here’s Reed:</a>

What I particularly like about this is that it is simple. A lot of blogs that use name anchors make them stupidly complex. Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

This week, Reed has a column about Jim Lehrer’s terrible debate moderating and what it says about political reporting generally. It is well worth reading. In fact, I highly recommend reading him every week. And if you do, perhaps he can start being paid. Eric Alterman is a slave driver (conjecture).

[1] Like this!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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