The latest in a loooooooooong line of pretentious verbs all got up to make ordinary tasks seem like something special, is to curate. This may have been a verb in museum circles where people quite legitimately curate exhibitions, though publicly I recall the usual form was to state that ‘the curator of the exhibition was so-and-so’ rather than ‘so-and-so curated this exhibition.’ I think there’s a sort of ramping-up of importance going on here, an attempt to make things sound much more thingish, as Pooh bear would say; things which are otherwise quite ordinary. So you have a person who puts a few things together and, hey presto, you’ve curated something.
Viz: this thing that came through my door this morning. Now like many people I get little enough post these days and what I do get is generally unwelcome. So when an envelope with my name on it came through the door, even though I knew it was probably junk, I bore it upstairs and ceremoniously prised it open.
It was a nice maroon envelope containing a piece of thick card. An invitation, it said. Do they really think that works on anyone any more? I opened the card and read:
Invitation to join our exclusive membership programme that brings you a host of members-only ballots, incredible events and great offers. We’ll also bring you guides, interviews and features…
Now like me you will not only have noticed the cliched ‘host’ but spotted that this is long on verbiage and short on information. What are the ballots about? What exactly are these incredible events? Will I even want the offers?
It’s all irrelevant to me anyway because no matter how tempting the offers or how incredible the events I won’t be able to afford them. That’s one thing about having no money – you can make your mind up pretty quickly on things. Life’s too short to bother about special offers unless it’s for something you really need. But here’s the killer blow:
… all specially curated for our members.
There it is – that word again. Basically someone has put together a few things and called it curating. There’s a word for this ‘bumping-up’ of importance, and the word is ‘reification’ – making a thing out of something that really isn’t anything:
Oh but wait! Down the bottom there are some examples: I can win tickets to see Tony Hadley (who he?) or go on a cruise to the continent (no thanks.)
So all in all I think it’s a no. But it was the misuse of the word curate that clinched the deal – in my day curate was a trainee vicar with a dodgy egg…
PS – Tony Hadley is apparently ex-Spandau Ballet. So that’s a definite no then…
3 thoughts on “Good in Parts? Is There a Cure?”
That’s a candidate for Stephen Poole’s word of the week Guardian column.
I haven’t seen that. Which day does it come out?
It’s in the Review section on a Saturday, but you can see them online. They’re usually quite amusing.