So what's all this got to do with XML? If you buy the notion that we are projecting ourselves into networked information systems, then we can't only focus on how processes and data interact in these increasingly XML-based systems. The quality and transparency of our direct interaction with XML processes and data -- and with one another as mediated by those processes and data -- has to be a central concern too.
When I think of XML, two things come to mind. First, I think of the movie Brazil, because XML is still this grab bag of stuff that happens to share one thing in common, angle brackets.
Second, I think of David Letterman's bit he calls "Is this anything?"* --- We expect XML to be something, anything, more than a grab bag of stuff that shares something in common beyond angle brackets.
A third thing comes to mind: the black knight in the Holy Grail, after all his limbs have been cut off. XML is utterly helpless in and of itself. It's everything *around* XML that has value, most of which are hindered by XML per se, not aided.
*(David Letterman's latest zany recurring bit is something he calls "Is this anything?" It consists of a setup of the bit followed by the pulling open of a curtain where a performer or, sometimes, a nonperformer, is doing something that may or may not be worth seeing or even worth "anything." David and his band-leader cohort, Paul Schaeffer, then discuss what they've just seen and decide whether it amounts to "anything," They don't always agree, but if the action behind the curtain exhibits creativity and talent it's usually declared "something" and if it's showy but pointless it will garner a "not anything." When Letterman and Schaeffer disagree, it's because they have different perceptions of what constitutes "anything.")