Thursday, December 20, 2012

WWPD, language police

-Yes, yes, the First Amendment, but whevs. I'm going to hereby advocate for a ban on the use of the word "fresh" to describe human physical appearance. As in 'fresh-faced,' or - thank you, paper of record, for this one - "fresh new face." It's just icky, and I say this as someone still young enough to theoretically qualify.

-Can job ads (nothing I was planning on applying for) really specify that they want "a native of a Francophone country"? This is a legit job in academia, by the way, not yet another Upper East Side French bakery with attitude. Isn't this, like, illegal? It's certainly silly - if you get a PhD in French, you damn well end up speaking French, and I say this as someone (ABD) who entered speaking French approximately as badly as anyone who's entered my program ever has. Somehow, after coursework and time-in-France and, oh, teaching in French, you just do. Sort of like how, despite having no spacial sense whatsoever and no general feel for how traffic works, I just aced practice-parallel-parking in town. What you gotta do, you gotta do.

-Terry Gross, Barbra Streisand, the perfect accompaniment to a poodle-walk. But Barbra, you do so still have a New York accent. Same as I do, basically - some words you hear it, others not. But if you think if it not as in, New Yawk, but as in, the absence of any of the other regional American accents, it's there.


PG said...

Since "fresh-faced" is a compliment I've received, I'm opposed to removing it. I don't think it's based solely on age (I've received it from people only a few years older than myself), but more on a look: minimal makeup and clear skin. I don't get adjectives like "sophisticated" much, so I'm reluctant to ban it.

"Fresh new face," however, I'll agree is an unnecessary phrase that smacks of 1920s silent screen gossip rags.

PG said...

But if you think if it not as in, New Yawk, but as in, the absence of any of the other regional American accents, it's there.

I don't quite understand what this means. I don't think I have much of any regional American accent -- someone was just remarking today that I have neither a Northern nor Southern accent -- but I don't think I sound like Streisand either.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Shorter PG: You're wrong!

In all seriousness, "fresh" is used to describe youth and to imply that older women are past their expiration date. It's also used to refer to innocence, and as we all know, makeup other than the natural look is a sign that one has been around the block a few times. Either way, I don't like it. Not because I'm ancient and into wearing a lot of makeup (I suppose I'm in neither category), but because I don't like what it represents.

And re: accents, fine, your experience as always offers a counterargument, but the phenomenon I'm referring to is hardly one I've invented. It's that people who think they don't have an accent clearly do have one, everyone does, but it just isn't something they themselves can hear. I remember this from college - I also don't sound very New York in the caricature sense, but to people from the Midwest, it was immediately clear that I was from elsewhere, and fairly clear that the elsewhere in question was the Northeast. But not New England. New York.