Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Name is Rogier (sic) and I am a Gourmand

I drive through a new estate every morning, as I may have mentioned before – something about the spurious attachments made to the barn/warehouse style living units to give them a rural feel. Along with this affectation, the builders have erected vaguely exotic vertical banners proclaiming the wonderful new lifestyle that will be had by moving to this place - New Living, Supports the life you want to lead – all that sort of guff which has been thought up because the reality of life in the little boxes made of ticky-tacky is just the same as every other estate in the country. There seems to be a dangerous trend to cover everything with words dragged out of some focus group just to hammer home with unsubtle enthusiasm what you are trying to say. There are two food show which start in the same way – Rick Stein’s recent shows have various hook-words plastered all over the titles – taste, local, fresh, produce – just to ram in what the general idea of the travels are. Hugh Feebly Whitingstall’s show has started doing the same sort of thing in a way which makes me think the titles are the product of the same graphics company. It is as if the producers are afraid that people cannot pick up the subtle clues to the contents of the shows from the listings magazines or the images in the titles. Everything is about catching the eye of channel-hoppers and maybe we just cannot do pictures any more.

This joins up with the just-announced overhaul of the teaching of reading for very young children. Every ‘new’ initiative on this subject is designed to roll back the supposed problems we have in this country and never seems to work. There are problems, though some of them are created by the used of electronic media. Is it now so easy to create a full document or presentation with graphics, that people just do – and too many of them. We used to think about documents because they had to be produced by document-makers who did not understand the contents but were very good at making the material presentable. Now we just throw the ideas at the word processor and out they come with all our prejudices about what people can understand in what we are trying to say. I say that lots of blogs are written from the point of view of an informed reader who understands a great deal of the mind of the blogger, almost telepathically, and so many corporate documents are like this as well. Bring back copywriters I say; bring back secretaries and limit the documents that come out – so many of them are just not read.

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