Boston: the Red Sox are going to the World Series, the Revolution are in the finals, and the Patriots can’t seem to lose.
The harder I search for relevance in the success of Boston’s sports teams to our current issue, the more I am convinced that I should leave it out of this editorial. I will therefore stop thinking about it, because the RED SOX ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES.
I haven't told everyone yet, but I entered the Journalism Department of Boston University's College of Communication to pursue a Master's degree in September. Ever since, I’ve grown increasingly conscious of my own writing, but also others’- particularly that of visual art criticism. Whether it is in a newspaper, peer-reviewed journal, or exhibition essay, there seems to be a surprising lack of inattention to meaning.
The layers upon layers of prepositional phrases, dubious adjectives, and passive voice - which, in some cases, seem intentional so as to shroud lack of understanding or commitment - are only part of the problem. Anyone who has read art criticism has come across more than their fair share of difficult sentences, but why is it that art critics, most of them smarter than your average bear, fail to deliver on telling the reader something? I’ll place some blame on the likes of Derrida, who was scared of meaning, but there’s also quite a few Benjamin and Adorno wannabes out there that are really mucking things up for those of us who actually want to get something out of whatever it is these writers may be thinking.
I had a conversation recently with an art Ph.D.-type and found that s/he was so wrapped up in pop-culture theory, they shuddered at the thought of 'tagging' as a practical application of the world wide web. Is that part of the problem? Do we become so entrenched in our work that we become stuck in a myopia of our own meanings? Even in journalism school, a place where a universality of meaning is regularly sought through words, there is a fear of the wiki, a tool - not unlike tagging - that self-evolves to a more universal meaning than any newspaper could possibly imagine (despite the extremely rare hiccup (Thanks Boing Boing)).
But back to the Sox and a little more about journalism: While watching the post-game celebrations on Fox-News tonight, I could almost hear the lament in the anchors voices' as they announced the peaceful and relatively relaxed streets around Fenway Park.
"…where is the violence and pepper spray canisters of yesteryear?"
"There must a drunken fan who wants to tip over our news van somewhere?"
Image from the Red Sox website.