Friday, October 1, 2010

The lies of technology.

One of the most powerful indictments of the online world is the transmutation it has foisted upon our language. I say this with one example in mind, but I'm sure there are many others. Like "select sex" on Facebook. Or "Personalize Your Weather" on the New York Times.

Here's the situation: I am in the George Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas. (As an aside, I have nothing against either George or Bush, but when you put them together, my skin crawls.)

Be that as it may, I am online thanks to a Boingo connection. Of course, I first am greeted by a "welcome screen."

Welcome, my ass. Plain and simple what every website in god's green earth calls a welcome screen is, in fact, an ad.

However, the engineers and technologists who designed this medium--people who, generally speaking care little about art or copy, have been told to call this screen something other than what it is. They are not word people, these technologists. So welcome screen it is. Everywhere you go.

Linguistic lying isn't up there with flesh eating viruses, genocide in Sudan, cataclysmic climate suicide, or a trillion other woes that afflict our world. But calling things other than what they are is at the root of much evil and woe. Furthermore, I'm in a pissy mood this morning, so there y' go.

1 comment:

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