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23 April 2014 @ 03:17 pm
on the dreaded "relatable"  
Not about Shakespeare at all, but a Slate post about why "relatable" is such a terrible, useless word:
!http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/04/11/relatable_the_adjective_is_everywhere_in_high_scchool_and_college_discussions.html

This is exactly right, I think - it's the way that "relatable" shuts down discussion, whether it's being used as a term of praise or as a way to dismiss something for not fulfilling that totally arbitrary idea. People - and I don't only say 'students' for a reason - use the word as though they're saying something other than "I have had a life experience like the life experience of someone in this novel/play/TV show/song lyric/movie" - as though it tells us something about the writers' or actors' skill, when it really doesn't, and means that people don't look for more precise terms to describe what they might actually be experiencing when they say that something is "relatable." And it's impossible to respond to, really: you're stuck with a chorus of "Me too!" or the feeling of "…That's nice for you, I guess?" You can't have a dialogue with "relatable" because it's solely about the speaker's personal life experiences; if you don't share them, there's nothing else to say.
 
 
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
litlover12: Bookslitlover12 on April 23rd, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
I really like that. Thanks for sharing!
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on April 24th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Glad to have been of service!
cschellscschells on April 24th, 2014 12:18 am (UTC)
The girl's English teacher gave the class a new book today and told them that it's very true to life or something. Life in the sixties. The girl was like, "Well, that's nice. What am I supposed to do with that as a description? I didn't live in the sixties!" I pointed out that her teacher probably didn't, either... Anyway, apparently it's a day for pointless descriptors!
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on April 24th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Hee. I can see using "true to life" as a *starting* point for some other discussion, but on its own, it doesn't really do much!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )