Monday, 19 March 2012

Layer speak

One of the features of our language is the layering imposed by social groupings. What we say to the boss isn’t what we’d say to our partner, kids or friends down the pub.

One feature of this layering can be its unsatisfactory nature. Sometimes it isn’t possible to say things we’d like to say in just the way we'd prefer to say them. We don’t have the social opportunity or can't take the social risk. This I think is where blogging stepped in.

Because we can refer to David Cameron as the Prime Minister, as a tosser, a duplicitous power-mad freak, as a toad mired in political imperatives he has no desire to change or we may decide not to refer to him at all. It depends on the social groupings we have available to us.

And that’s the thing about blogging. It’s a virtual social grouping where things are said which often cannot be said in physical social groups. After all, you can’t have a beer with your friends and just say how awful things are all the time. You can say it, but you may well be branded as a right misery.

So blogging may fulfil an important social function, a healthy function where social constraints on what is said about what are more relaxed. If we don’t like what is being said we can move on without losing any friends in the process.

It works remarkably well and seems to add something new to our society, something we have yet to see with the full benefit of hindsight, something with which we are not yet completely au fait.

And yes – Cameron is a tosser.


Anonymous said...

Even trickier, I suspect, is written language. The one thing I have noticed over the years from my blog is how much it gives away about me and my 'persona' - for lack of a better word. It happens with other blogs and bloggers if they run for long enough. Thus, is my admiration increased for Shakespeare who somehow managed to hide himself almost completely behind a veil of elusive meaning and sub-text.

A K Haart said...

David - yes, you have to put your persona on display, at least the web side of it. Regular commenters do the same thing of course.

Maybe Shakespeare's age was more concerned with veils in the first place - as a matter of prudence.

Sam Vega said...

"a toad mired in political imperatives"


A K Haart said...

Sam- thanks - I'm still being too restrained though (:

Anonymous said...

Nice to let off steam now and then but I don't suppose it makes much difference. With politics we go round and round the mulberry bush.

There is a theory that suggests the only worthwhile intellectual writers are those thought mad at the time but proved to be right (as opposed to those thought mad and found to be mad). The snag is being thought mad until the world catches up. As for Cameron, I just don't care.

A K Haart said...

Roger - ha ha - I'm working on mad. Not far to go now. Hahahha. (:

James Higham said...

A toast to blogging about the toad.