Not the long lost manuscript for the next Harry Potter book but a debate I was invited to join on BBC Radio Nottingham this weekend.
It came about after local author Beth Moran wrote a really interesting piece about being invited to “pimp” her coffee at a family restaurant.
NB: not a Prince lyric.
I was invited by the producer to pop in and give the counter-argument as a professional writer and PR expert.
The problem was, I kind of agreed. You see, I’m far from a prude and I relish the way language evolves and evokes emotion but Beth has a point, it was the context. Beth was with her family, in a family restaurant. It isn’t the sort of language I use but it is common parlance, hence it sneaks into casual questions, tweets and even menus.
However, one wonders whether we say it so casually that it needs a greater degree of care. If I may quote Beth;
“The way language changes is surely a mirror reflecting something of our culture, the attitudes of society. As a mother, fighting to raise my children to honour, respect and value women in a culture flooded with invitations to debase their images, if not their physical bodies, I think the sexualisation of everyday language matters.”
As Beth says, language matters. Marketing folk such as I use it every day to tap into the zeitgeist and to show our customers that we are on their wavelength. So should we be more careful? Is Beth overreacting? I don’t think she is, I think she’s right to bring this up. Language should always be appropriate to your target audience, unless you are intentionally seeking to cause offence or court controversy. Either way, it should always be created consciously and with such considerations in mind..
PS “Pimp my omelette” – that was my parting comment, live on the BBC. I hope it raised a smile, otherwise the yolk’s on me.