January 27, 2015

Two Words That Make Me Cringe!

I was reading something on-line and came across this statement:

It’s a hand-curated roundup of tips I don’t share elsewhere.

That one little sentence just made me shudder! Of course, it’s hand-curated, you picked out the tips, you typed them in, and you shared them. Unless you swiped them from someone else, they’re hand-curated. But you should know what the word really means before you use it.

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Not everything that is collected or assembled is curated. I am sick of seeing some curating Tweets, or that one should “curate the selection from Instagram” or other such nonsense. I realize that English is a very flexible language, but the saying that you’ve “hand-curated” your pinterest tips diminishes actual museum curators who have spent years learning about the art in their museums.

It’s just so inauthentic.

Which brings me to my next word: authentic. Funnily, as I switched screens and went to check Facebook, this was at the top of my feed:

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Of course, the next sentence did nothing to alleviate my nausea: The platform will be a unique opportunity for emerging designers to connect with a new marketplace of design lovers, and for consumers to discover authentic products. The platform will expose an intimate number of designers each day across four disciplines: graphic art, jewelry, homeware and accessories. 

And, might I ask, what is “homeware?”

imageMeet Mr. Authentic Homeware Designer and his emerging unique opportunities.

I am afraid that I have to disagree a bit with this definition of authentic:image

How do you be both real or genuine and at the same time be made to be just like an original? One of these things is not the authentic description. Isn’t everything, in its own way, authentic? It’s such a broad description that it can apply to anything.

This is someone on Etsy. Are her children authentic, too?image

When you strive to become authentic, do you automatically become less so?

Your thoughts?

67 comments:

  1. Language is frequently missued and no where more so than in descriptions for sales. It all ends up sounding like "blah, blah, blah", and is therefore an insult to one's intelligence.

    "The platform will be a unique opportunity for emerging designers to connect with a new marketplace of design lovers, and for consumers to discover authentic products. The platform will expose an intimate number of designers each day across four disciplines: graphic art, jewelry, homeware and accessories."

    should read:

    "New designers of graphic art, jewelry, homeware and accessories can sell their products on/in a [platform]", and I presume they're not at a station.

    At school we were given copies of Sir Earnest Gowers's "The Complete Plain Words": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_English

    It would be nice if it were a compulsory book on the list of every politician; the General Election in UK a mere 100 days away is filled with daily mind-numbingly tedious party lines from every Tom, Dick and Harriet. I think you are getting that too, and you've got two years of it!

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    1. We faithfully read Strunk & White's Elements of Style, which was first published in 1918 and is still published - and relevant - today!

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    2. I agree!
      I started at the bottom! Read from the bottom....and if you are sick of my comments delete them! I couldn't help myself!!) what a GREAT post!!!

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    3. Penelope! I love your comments. Always such fun!

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  2. Really interesting Meg. I notice word choice too and have noted the same language in advertising etc. nowadays, all trying to lure people in to some sort of warm, personal experience. Curated, authentic - yes - and "artisanal" drives me crazy - suddenly everything is artisanal or "heritage". These words are used a little too liberally to convey some sort of warmth and integrity and trustworthiness and wholesomeness, and have lost any meaning they might properly have. At the end of the day they just want to sell you something.
    Ugh.

    xo Terri

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    Replies
    1. Artisanal! That's another one, and it always needs to be spell-checked!

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    2. another complete peeve......(as if we need another.) is when in Real Estate Listings (an entire post of its own) when houses "boast designer kitchens" or "boast air conditioning" HUH??? Since When do houses "boast"?

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    3. And when is a/c a big amenity? It's a necessity here in Baltimore.

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  3. What is the difference between "curated" and "selected"? In most cases, I think "selected" would be the most appropriate word, and yet "curated" is used instead. Are we supposed to be impressed?

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    1. You are so right! Selected is so much better. Carefully selected... Not impressed.

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  4. "Vintage"..... Just sayin'....

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  5. You don't know how much I love this post. ;-)

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  6. The use of "absolutely" instead of "yes" makes me crazy. It has become part of everyday speech EVERYWHERE. People, please stop.

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    1. In my family, we say 'abso-lulu" because one of my nephews conflated "absolutely" with their dog, Lulu. I accidentally once said it in a meeting.

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    2. My unfavorite is "absolutely" instead of "You're welcome!" (I bet it is only in California.) You say "thank you" to the waitress...or waiter.....their answer is "Absolutely!" HUH???
      or "No problem"; or "no worries"! HUH?
      What happened to "You're welcome!"? No one says that in this State. When one does; I give a compliment!

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    3. I've noticed that no one says "you're welcome" any longer. They just say "thank you" back...

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  7. After I earned my degree in interior architecture, it always bothered me when people called me a "decorator." The "designer" wallpaper, pillows, or such make me wonder what that means, exactly. I also earned a couple of other degrees, one in English literature. The degrees don't make me smarter, but the hard work and experience I have expended over time do lend some "authenticity" to my work.

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    1. Annie... it's things like designer toilet paper and decorator cabinets that kill me!

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  8. oh yes -there is a bit too much of this 'twee' talk - thats why I had to stop watching HGTV!!

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    1. I agree about HGTV, and if I heard about built-ins one more time, I'd scream!

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    2. Hilarious! 'BUILT-INS" I have never said in my 43 year career as a decorator!

      EEEK!!!!

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  9. ArchitectDesign - I had to stop watching HGTV too. The rubbish décor they were churning out made me sick. And the fact that the lemmings of Amurrrca think that HGTV is the be-all and end-all and follow every trend...I can't take it.
    Meg, you are exactly right. People have latched onto artisinal and curated and killed those words dead for me. But I had to laugh at the authentic definition. Whose definition was that? The definition was not "authentic", was it? Thanks for reading our collective minds.

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    1. The funniest thing is when people pronounce "artisanal" as "artesianal". Fingernails on a blackboard.

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  10. I too, had to stop watching HGTV + too many deadlines that were $$ + mispronounced words for me. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. I went to a seminar for HGTV in HighPoint and one of the first questions asked was why do you set people up for having such unreal expectations when they're doing a renovation...

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    2. Fascinating. My house and I (and my husband were just filmed for a show on HGTV) (which I have never watched).

      The "Real Houses of" (6 cities Santa Barbara being one of them) about houses who reflect the people who live in them. We shall see! They were darling guys (all from Canada right above Maine) their company partnered with a company in Venice Beach, Ca.

      It was a fun day.....lasted 10 hours! My house does definitely reflect me and my husband and family!! (it is just us and the animals here.....our grandchildren are nearby!!)

      Penelope

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    3. Uh oh. I should have watched at least one program on HGTV I guess! OH well!
      Let's see what happens! Guess what words I NEVER use!! I like the title! The "real houses" as opposed to the "Authentic Homes"! That use of homes is like nails on a blackboard to me! We live in our "house"; and we come "home". My mother was from Alabama......that is in my DNA. I would never describe my house as my "home"; although it is not "incorrect"!

      Keep your fingers crossed for us! Although these guys loved the whole place.
      I heard them saying......"what lucky grandchildren to grow up visiting here!!!"

      I think it will be fine. Or end up on the cutting room floor if they don't like it!

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  11. Hello Meg, Your only hope is to outlive the fad, or wait until even more outrageous heights of pretension arrive. In the meantime we can only lament with Ogden Nash: "Some words like ugly courtiers, should lag behind the portières."
    --Jim

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  12. Meg, I feel the same and it's really getting so tiresome. Older bloggers , business people, designers, tend to not use these words - notice this? But with the younger (under 40) crowd, I see this all the time. They set a table, arrange a bookshelf, decorate a mantle - suddenly they refer to themselves as being designers. A row of mason jars, throw pillows on a sofa, or a selection of succulents become a curated collection. Lay some clothes out on a white bed or a wooden floor and take a photo, of course - a curated collection - no, its their outfit for the day! I see much authentic denim now. A big thing. An authentic lifestyle - you hung out in a overpriced coffee shop with a pack of similar dressed, too skinny buddies half the day (do any of them work?), photographed the coffee you drank, stood in front of various old warehouses and took more photos of yourself and friends, shopped for expensive make-up and a 300.00 pair of jeans - photos of those too, then made a smoothie bowl for dinner - more photos. Their kids...don't even get me started - they 'document' every waking moment, 'curate' all the little expensive wardrobes & 'handmade' expensive toys, and then plaster their children all over the internet - every single day.

    Really, what in the world! Okay, that felt good, thanks!

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    1. And then they go into authentic and curated debt because they're trying to keep up with everyone else!

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    2. Omigod....this comment is so good you should publish it as its own blogpost!!!
      I am completely serious!!!

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  13. Oh, I have to add - all these people dress the same, decorate almost exactly the same, eat the same trendy foods, and even take the same type of photos....they really are a bunch of copycats - there seems to be no originality.

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    1. Tall boots into which skinny jeans are tucked, with a blousey top and a vest.

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  14. How about "bespoke" also bandied about a lot!

    xoxo
    Karena
    French Artist Frederique Chemin

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    1. That's another one that KILLS me!

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    2. Bespoke was going to be mine but Karena beat me to it! Sob.

      This summer someone on Fire Island told my friend how much he liked me, I was authentic, he said.

      Duh.

      xo J

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  15. Two more words/phrases that make me gnash my teeth: "matchy-matchy" and, regarding a newly-built home, "I wanted it to look as if it's always been there".

    Instead of "matchy-matchy", which sounds like something a 4-year-old would say, what's wrong with "matching", as in "She didn't want all the dining room furniture matching."?

    And if a home looked as if it's always been there, wouldn't it look like a cave, since a cave is the only type of dwelling that's "always" been there? How about a sentence like "I wanted it to fit in with the older houses in the neighbourhood" or something similar?

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    1. now I have taken a deep breath (after I wrote my comment) ....yes. well said!

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    2. Matchy-matchy is like fingernails on a blackboard.

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    3. No....it is the house in "the vernacular of the neighborhood" or the "XYZ residence" and on HGTV the young couples who can't share a sink or a closet in their first house that get me.

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  16. Sorry in advance for so many comments but this topic is so relevant to what is happening - especially in the blog world. I have noticed many of these self named 'curators', 'designers', 'stylist', showing up online and being sponsored by huge companies - Barney's, Zara, Lowes, Madewell, Target, oh, the list goes on and on. I find it to be so wrong and disrespectful of the years of hard work, research, schooling, experience, of the true curators, designers, and stylist. I read somewhere that several of these popular young bloggers are making in excess of a million a year now! With no real experience or college of any sort. I'm done, thanks for posting this thought provoking article.

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    1. Not a problem! I love comments. What i dislike is those ads which say "start a blog and make $40k a month", as if it's easy to do!

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  17. How about real estate ads that talk about a "gourmet kitchen?" How can a kitchen be gourmet? Since when did a stainless fridge and granite countertop determine that? Doesn't what is MADE in the kitchen determine whether or there is anything gourmet about it?

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    1. The more gourmet-looking the kitchen, the less cooking is done there!

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    2. Exactly, Anonymous and Meg! So, if I make a grilled cheese sandwich in a kitchen that has a stainless steel fridge and a granite countertop, is it a gourmet kitchen? Similarly, if I make a kale and quinoa salad with grilled free range chicken, sun chokes, brie, walnuts, dates and honey-lime vinaigrette in a kitchen with a 1989 white fridge and formica countertop, is it a gourmet kitchen?

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. Someone who actually birthed those babies?

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  19. You struck a nerve with this post, Meg. I'd be happy to never read the word 'pop' again, unless it's someone from the Midwest talking about soda.

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    1. You are so right! Sometimes I hear myself say "a pop of colour" and just shrink inside.

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  20. these young people with their attempts to expand their vocabulary while blogging seem to be successful. At least they blog, some former bloggers only post on instagram. Well, if the blog is up on the internet for a few years, perhaps they will reflect one day and see/read the posts and see how they were back then. They may blog about how silly they sounded back then. Writers have to write to get better, the talented writers get hired by genuine magazines to further their career-- I have never heard of the blogs you are referring to, I guess I am not on the internet as much as I thought I was. Thanks I feel better now.

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  21. It is too late for me to read all of your comments (signs of a really GREAT post!!!);

    However, I have to say......I am so sick of the misuse of the word "curate" (see your definition);
    "an art exhibition or museum"!!

    So stores and houses and personal collections are not "curated"!!! They are "collected"!!

    Just pretentious and preposterous !!! (Penny, what do you really think?)

    And you "hit the nail on the head AGAIN" with the complete misuse (even in well-written shelter magazines) of the word "authentic". It is a ridiculous mangling of our language.

    You are completely correct on all counts! A++ You get on this blog post! (most always, actually)
    But BIG FAT BRAVO on this one!

    Penelope

    ps can we just ban the word "pop" in decorating commentary from this day forward? It is a lot to ask!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for all of your great insightful comments, Penny. Always such fun to read your comments!

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  22. There is just one more: "branding"!!! WHAAAA??????

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  23. "It’s a hand-curated roundup of tips I don’t share elsewhere." You know what else is funny about this statement? You read it on-line. Is there anywhere left for these tips to be shared? If they are sharing these tips on the internet, then they are sharing them everywhere.

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  24. I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.

    ReplyDelete

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