The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You say 'tomato', I say 'massacre', let's call the whole thing off

This blog post might be a little off-topic, and - perhaps - more appropriate for my research blog - but I think it gives an interesting insight into the role of language in the interpretative process.
(Apologies to anyone who finds the topic distressing.)

3 comments:

Ceri said...

There was an interesting article in spiked the other day which was similar, about how the word accident is being phased out of use... it seems that nothing is an accident anymore there is always someone to blame.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3356/

I think in terms of the article there have been similar concerns over the use of words such as 'genocide' which are applied to many circumstances which are not felt to warrant them. Again its a matter of interpretation (and I cannot remember any specific examples to make this point more helpful)

Amy said...

Well, having read that I think I will use the word 'accident' as much as possible! I'm a firm believer in fate - everything happens for a reason, i.e. if I hadn't have buggered up my A Levels I wouldn't be doing a PhD here now.

The classic example of 'sanitised' language has to be 'ethnic cleansing', which - I think - the orginal blog post makes reference to. And how about the 'final solution'? The spiked writer is completely right in his allusion to '1984', I think. Society has become very adept at removing the emotive and the partisan from language, especially in 'official' contexts. It's kind of disturbing if you think too much about it. :S

Ceri said...

But then often emotional language is used in quite unrealistic contexts... for example describing immigrants coming into the UK as a 'wave' or as a 'flood' presents it in a very negative context from the beginning. Often the media uses very emotive language to compel us to agree and make a judgement subconsciously. In that case it might be better to sanitise language in some respects to prevent over-hysterical reactions to events...?