Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Free the Bound Periodicals and Other Acts of Language Liberation

As at many college campuses, the sidewalks at Smith College were always covered in protest slogans written out large in chalk. So I laughed the day that I saw the words "Free the Bound Periodicals" on the sidewalk in front of the library. Alright, I still smile every time I think about it.

A few weeks ago, Alessia and I were cutting words out of flyers for her word box. I got this strange sense that I was liberating the words from the clutches of marketers. Dove is a beautiful bird, a symbol of peace, when it no longer sits next to the word shampoo. Free is a noble, uplifting word, when it is not sandwiched between the words dairy and butter.

Try it. It's fun. Get a flyer and a pair of scissors and start cutting. Think about how the meaning of the words shift in your mind as you take them from their commercial context and allow them to stand on their own. Adam's marketing professors will cringe as you do it, and that's fun too.


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