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During this week David Beckham in the news for his effort to maintain his level of competiveness for being selected to play for England in another world cup is to play on loan for Milan during the US off season. Accused of turning his back on the LA Gallaxy he said:”I am not leaving Gallaxy or desertingmy role at Gallaxy”. Role is being more and more common usage. Words are currency like capital that is a restless comodity and will move to the place of greatest opportunity words a word will move its meaning to the place in language where it can have impact and consequence. Its meaning is shaped by use in the population. Like fashion of clothing fashion in word usage drifts with popular choices one person uses a word and another copies a mass effect sees first a distintive set of use and then a greater mass of followers unthinkingly taking for granted that usaage, shape colurs and style.

Meaning follows use. First recognition then acceptance and then common use and then meaning is formed and tightened by the regularity of the pathway of use. One word is out of fashion and another in. One word is common and then it is belittling insulting and not acceptable is “politically not correct”. An individual defiantly takes a common insulting word and uses it of themsleves and the “kind”. It is restored. New life is given to it. It becomes a symbol of hope and pride not a defiant act a redemptive movement. “Christian”, “Black” and “Queer” have all taken that path. A label of derision becomes a badge that honours its community. 

“Role” has tightened around organisational place and systemic function in sub sets of society. Used by organisational consultants learned by managers and especially HR managers. Soon everyone knows not to say “my job”, “my work”, “my job description”, “my responsibilities” or “my task” any more. To earn approval without realising the process they take the higher rated word. As in fashion people don’t know they have changed their usage. It is not preference it is common coinage.

During this same week an advertising trailer. Oh Oh I’ve used and old fashioned word for a brief segment of a programme to open a trail of viewers to watch that show. “Show” used to be a performance as in “circus” or “baudville”, but now its of political or current or financial affairs programmes. Serious drama or musical comedy are also shows. Any way in a “trailer” advert for a “show” there is a man encouraged to dress differently and he says:”This is great I leave behind my old ‘role’ I feel different”. Role it seems like suits and shirts are seperate from humans and can be put on and taken off; like any “fashion” they can go out and be left behind.

Where am I going with this? If you’re intersted watch this blog.

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