Friday, December 11, 2009

The Little Black Whatever

I don't know why people do this.

Since 1869, Black Friday has meant
A precipitous drop in a financial market . The original Black Friday occurred on September 24, 1869, when prospectors attempted to corner the gold market.
Since (perhaps) 1966, the phrase has been used in another way.
Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season.
Supposedly it's the day that retailers go "into the black," meaning making a profit for the year.

I'm sorry, but for me and many other people, "Black Friday" has depressing connotations, particularly since our recent financial crash. And there are others.
Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree. ... "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them." [from Wikipedia]
I'm probably hopelessly out of date, but today I found out about another black repurposing.
Nearly everyone in the film industry will be reaching for their BlackBerrys or iPhones this morning for an e-mail that will shape the film industry next year. Known as the Black List, this annual ranking of the year's most-talked-about unproduced screenplays has the power to catapult an unknown screenwriter into instant talks with a major studio.
Up until today, I thought that a Hollywood blacklist had to do with the craven submission of the studios to Joseph McCarthy's witch hunting in the early 1950s.

I've worked for an organization that liked to repurpose acronyms, sometimes by stretching a name so that it would fit an already-understood acronym. The user of the neo-acronym would strut and preen his wit and agility in confusing the rest of us.

I don't know if that is what has motivated this black repurposing, although my sense is that the users of the neologisms do seem to radiate that self-regard.

We don't need more confusion. Stop it.

No comments: