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Creative, as a word, has done more damage than many others to the field of design, and to language in general. I seem to share this idea with Max Jackers, a character from the novel Then We Came to The End by Joshua Ferris. Max lives on a farm back in Iowa, and from time to time his nephew Jim, working in an advertising agency in Chicago, calls him for suggestions or new ideas.

He told Max he’d missed his calling. “You should have been a creative”, he said.
“A creative?” said Max.
Jim explained that in the advertising industry, art directors and copywriters alike were called creatives.
“That’s the stupidest use of an english word I ever encountered, “ said Max.
Jim also told him that the advertising product, whether it was a TV commercial, a print ad, a billboard, or a radio spot, was called the creative.
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Annunci

In un certo senso, credo che sempre scriviamo di qualcosa che non sappiamo: scriviamo per rendere possibile al mondo non scritto di esprimersi attraverso di noi. Leggi il seguito di questo post »

Di recente ho mandato una mail a un indirizzo non più valido; la mail di errore che mi è arrivata poco dopo aveva il solito inquietante oggetto “failure notice”, ma non ho potuto fare a meno di apprezzare il tono quasi umano del testo del messaggio:

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at smtp4.aruba.it.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I’ve given up.
Sorry it didn’t work out.

Non che il risultato cambi, ma è bello sapere che almeno ci hanno provato, davvero.

lostintranslation_02.jpg

Dizionario giapponese-ungherese. Budapest, 17 agosto.

Writing about design and neighbouring things, I often find myself struggling with the limits of my vocabulary. «Interesting» is a word I relapse into, too frequently maybe, in lack of better terms. It’s not necessarily a bad thing: the word has a specific meaning, that makes it useful in many circumstances. But to this meaning another use was overlayed, as a generic conversation prop.

As a result, when one defines someone or something as «interesting», the listener is entitled to some diffidence. Even if one simply meant: «interesting».

Interesting is also the title of a very short story by Lydia Davis, from her collection Samuel Johnson is Indignant (McSweeney’s Books, 2001). A few lines:

Here is a very handsome English traffic engineer. The fact that he is so handsome, and so animated, and has such a fine English accent makes it appear, each time he begins to speak, that he’s about to say something interesting, but he is never interesting, and he is saying something, yet again, about traffic patterns.

The full text is here (scroll down), together with another good short piece on the same theme, Boring Friends.

Scrivendo di progetto e cose limitrofe mi trovo spesso a litigare con i limiti del mio vocabolario. «Interessante» è una parola in cui ricado spesso, troppo spesso forse, in mancanza di meglio. Non ci sarebbe niente di male: ha un significato preciso che la rende utile in varie circostanze. Però ad esso si è aggiunto un altro uso, di generica interlocuzione.

Risultato: se si definisce qualcuno o qualcosa «interessante», nell’ascoltatore sorge una legittima diffidenza. Quando invece non si voleva dire altro che quello: «interessante».

Interesting è anche il titolo di un breve racconto di Lydia Davis, dalla raccolta Samuel Johnson is Indignant (McSweeney’s Books). Eccone qualche riga:

Here is a very handsome English traffic engineer. The fact that he is so handsome, and so animated, and has such a fine English accent makes it appear, each time he begins to speak, that he’s about to say something interesting, but he is never interesting, and he is saying something, yet again, about traffic patterns.

Qui trovate il testo completo, insieme a un altro brevissimo pezzo sullo stesso tema, Boring Friends.

now listening to

st. vincent, strange mercy
Read the Printed Word!

Oinoi >> Flickr

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