Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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April 30, 2017
why do curators talk funny?

John Rapko described the problem well enough, with brio last year:

Analyzing their opaque manner of speech and mountebank-like presentation, I argued that . . . the curator must meet many, not obviously reconcilable, demands from various constituencies, including museum professionals, critics, academic historians of recent art, local money-bags financing the shows, and of course the millions simply thirsting for the latest in the arts.

from "Up from Contemporaneity; or, Why Do Curators Talk Like That? (Part 3)," source here

Rapko had initially laid the problem out a year earlier (2015):

An often noted feature of the Curator is her need to communicate with very different audiences and clients . . . Something of this need to, if not communicate, at least resonate with these diverse audiences may account for the un-eliminable indeterminacy of the curator’s talk. . .
In using those words the Curator signals to those in the know, but the use must also allow each of the other audiences to project something into the language, and to think itself finding something of significance there. The un-eliminable vagueness of the Curator’s speech may not in every case be maligned. After all, obscurity and indeterminacy are not always negative features of a linguistic style.
source here

What name to give this phenomenon?

"Heteroglossia"?  "Diplomacy" or "tact"? "Pretentiousness"? "B.S."?

"Strategic ambiguity," due to need to address incompatible if not mutually hostile audiences?

TiR can't decide.  Or rather, comes to a different decision after every few minutes of thought about the problem's various aspects.

In contradictory times, it's hard to talk about anything in a non-contradictory way.  You'll end up looking like a hypocrite or a fool, even more than usual, at least to somebody.  Though shutting up may have the same effect.

Post here could be retitled: "Why do we all talk funny?"

What do I know?  Bah.