Embedded markup

In an article I'm working on I refer to Norm Walsh's piece Embedded Markup Considered Harmful and his follow-up "Escaped Markup: What To Do Instead". I've always urged people to use type="xhtml" in Atom rather than type="html" and do the tidying to XHTML in the aggregation processing stage, and my arguments largely line up with Norm's.

From a comment by Dan Connolly I also found this older XML.com article with the same title as Norm's: "Embedded Markup Considered Harmful" by Theodor Holm Nelson. I can't make much sense of what Mr. Nelson is saying. Can you?

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Hmm, there seems to be some nomenclatural confusion here.  Norm's article is labeled "Escaped Markup Considered Harmful", though both its URL and Dan's comment suggest that it once had the same name as Nelson's.

In any case, Nelson's article intertwingles two ideas, both sensible, despite the floods of rhetoric he surrounds them with.  One is the LMNL insight: hierarchy isn't everything.  The other is that in-band tags make it more difficult to reuse content in fully novel ways, though they are more robust against blind editing than out-of-band markup.

So he wants to make all markup out-of-band so that  content can be more easily reused in ways that crosscut existing hierarchies.  This isn't stupid, it just isn't the way things have gone.