Sunday, October 4, 2009

So glad the Grey Lady is calling bullshit on this.


Read THIS and THIS.

From the article:

The word “curate,” lofty and once rarely spoken outside exhibition corridors or British parishes, has become a fashionable code word among the aesthetically minded, who seem to paste it onto any activity that involves culling and selecting. In more print-centric times, the term of art was “edit” — as in a boutique edits its dress collections carefully. But now, among designers, disc jockeys, club promoters, bloggers and thrift-store owners, curate is code for “I have a discerning eye and great taste.”

Or more to the point, “I belong.”

For many who adopt the term, or bestow it on others, “it’s an innocent form of self-inflation,” said John H. McWhorter, a linguist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “You’re implying that there is some similarity between what you do and what someone with an advanced degree who works at a museum does.”

32 comments:

jen said...

me too! I hate when I read blogs or articles and they use lines like "a carefully edited collection of vintage posters".

Anonymous said...

Good, but did they need two full web pages to do it? They should have curated their verbiage a little.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope overuse will kill the term. Soon.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope overuse will kill the term. Soon.

priscilla said...

Good for you. Another term that makes me cringe is bespoke.

The Reluctant Houstonian said...

Hee! Hee! I was amused (and not surprised) that the first store mentioned was one in Houston. My husband and I have a special name for the common Houstonian's hubris: ignorant arrogance. And we witness it daily in this town. Not that we don't have excellent curators in Houston, but they usually work at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts or the Menil Collection.

Anonymous said...

You called it, baby!

Tara.Fields said...

Something about "curate" in relation to retail has always said "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" to me. A turn off, but not utterly revolting.

Ann said...

I used this word on a project I was working on for my own amusement a couple of months ago. I was so proud of myself for being so unique. Within that week, you posted about hating that word and since then I've noticed it every where. There goes my uniqueness. I can see why it bothered you so much.

I also hate the word adore.

Anonymous said...

Yea! So true, and I appreciate you pointing this out. My hard won education really does mean something, esp. when coupled with a good eye.
-aiisa

mary said...

Totally agree!!! Anyone can select, but curate extends much further and is based on accepted norms. Thanks for the post.

Kwana said...

I so agree. Love the Top Curate comment. I and see it now complete with an overblown pick and choose quickfire.

Penelope Bianchi said...

Oh you are so funny! I tried to read this whole thing on my iphone....and it went back to your post about words and phrases that need to be dead and buried..and it was all too small. But there was what I SAID!!!

It was very important!

Then I started to go blind.....too small!
so; now after dinner here goes!

My friend from New York; years ago; we took to dinner at the San Ysidro Ranch here in Santa Barbara.

He spied a sign that said: "Valet your car here"!

He said: "Only in California can 'valet' be a verb!!"

If only he had been correct! This hideous habit of making verbs out of other things.....may have started here!
EEEEKKK!!!!!!!

SO SORRY!! IT NEEDS TO STAMPED OUT...ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER ONE OF THOSE WORDS.

I AM PRINTING OUT THE ENTIRE THING FROM JULY SO I DON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING ANY OF THEM.

CALL ME YOUR DISCIPLE.
I AM.

Penelope Bianchi said...

PS DON'T YOU HOPE THE GREY LADY SURVIVES?

I DO!

Penelope Bianchi said...

WHAT THE LAST ANONYMOUS SAID.....(TWO FULL WEB PAGES)

THAT SCARES ME TO DEATH!

I LIKE READING THE NEWSPAPER! IT LOOKS FINE IN NEWSPRINT! I DON'T WANT TO READ MY NEWSPAPER ON MY COMPUTER!


AM I THE ONLY GEEZER OUT THERE?? FEEDBACK PLEASE!

LOVE YOUR BLOG.

PENNY

Penelope Bianchi said...

ANN.......YOU WOULD NOT DISLIKE TO WORD "ADORE"IF IT WERE DESCRIBING SOMEONE'S FEELINGS FOR YOU!

RIGHT?

IT IS WHEN IT IS USED INDISCRIMINATELY.......SAME WITH ALL THESE WORDS......"ADORE A FABRIC" "ADORE A HOUSE"! "ADORE A PILLOW!!)
OH YUK!

"ADORE A MOMMY OR A GRANNY IS FINE!" AT LEAST IT IS WITH ME......MY GRANDCHILDREN ACTUALLY SAY THAT TO ME! IT IS WAY OK IN THAT CONTEXT.

PENNY

reclamationdesign@yahoo.com said...

OMG, this article was so on. And I knew Decorno would be all over it. (You posted about this very tendency not too long ago, didn't you?). I have to confess I used "curate" recently (that was before your post) when I had to write a profile for an interior designer who used to be an antiques dealer. He wanted to make note of that experience, but he didn't want me to use the word "dealer." So ... I cited his experience as a "curator of modern furnishings and antiques." My use of the word was intended to do ALL the things that were called out in the Times article: to say that “[the designer has] a discerning eye and great taste,” and certainly, that he belongs. Which happen to be true. Still, I knew at the time I was blowing smoke up his ass (which it was my job to do in this case). But in the end, it really was just “an innocent form of self-inflation.” I promise not to do it again.

little augury said...

I think we are all so bloglogged that the buzz words pop up over and over- Many blogs are just that-"self inflation." No? I am amazed, marvel gobsmacked, paralyzed, bemused, bumfuzzled, cracked, at the "right I'm loving" this-that one should be cause for disturbing the peace. GT

Iheartfashion said...

Yes. So tired of reading about blogger-curated shoe collections! Also, let's stop saying "couture" when it doesn't refer to made-to-measure clothing.

Carrie said...

I was going to suggest that we try to hurry its demise by using it in the most ridiculous ways possible, like, "I am going to curate the ingredients of this sandwich," but then I read the line about personally curating the food stands and I realized it would be redundant.

Up Mama's Wall said...

Hurray! I am guilty of using "curate" in print but I've always felt a little skanky about it. I hate it when hyperbole renders a word meaningless. Please see "anorexic" for "skinny," "awesome" for "I liked it," and "starving" for "I haven't eaten anything since I ate that huge bagel from breakfast."

Anonymous said...

"Hello Lithium? It's me, Penny"

Amy said...

Hate the usage of curate too! Love Decorno! Can you keep posting more articles about this?

Maybe someone can start a flicker set or a blog roll where we can all call out the most horrific usages of the "c" word. Maybe we can embarrass the masses into dropping it?

big boy said...

Freakin' or fricken' or "droppin' the f-bomb. C'mon the word is FUCK. If you cannot say it properly, chances are good that you cannot do it properly either.

Will said...

It's funny that the actual museum curators interviewed in the article don't have any issues with the way the word is now being more widely used, and yet everyone posting here acts like they've been personally offended by it for weeks or months. Curate means to have the care of something--to be responsible for what is presented. What's the big deal? Sure, maybe it's now being overused by marketing-types, but it's not always being mis-used. It's not a made up verb, as some seem to think...I love you, Decorno, I'm just not sure about all these commenters who can only say "I agree!, I agree!"... Did anyone actually even read the whole article?

Anonymous said...

"Did anyone actually even read the whole article?"

Talk about self-inflation.

Anonymous said...

actually wanna-be linguists out there, adore should only be used when describing a feeling toward our creator, our Lord. duh..... adoring a pair of shoes or even a person is so repugnant. use another word dummies.

Anonymous said...

"use another word dummies."

Good Christian advice.

big boy said...

I vote for the separation of church and blog. Duh.

Anonymous said...

True enough anon - dummies should have been left out, but the secular world drives me crazy and renders me insensitive sometimes. I am truly sorry; that Christian enough for ya?

Anonymous said...

I am a curator. As in, my business card reads "curator of collections." If it was as easy as putting together a collection of shoes, I would be made in the shade. "Carefully selecting things" is .10 percent of my job.

That last quote made me kick my leg high into the air.

Anonymous said...

I work in a museum. Believe me, the "careful selection" curators allegedly do is overrated. Items are selected for display in good part to keep donors happy and in good part to bring in visitors. Historic and artistic importance are not always the number-one selection criterion. "Carefully curated," in my experience, can be kind of laughable.