Four observations on the power of language and lacuna.
Language can take us out of context. But, language and artistic choices will and should always reflect the wider world, when made public.
The choice to use a puppet to portray a severely autistic boy in a recent play in London has had much criticism from the wider world outside the play.*The creative decision is mediocre, but beyond that the social political world beyond the play cannot be ignored. We live in a world of metaphor and symbols.
The decision for a German CEO to use words that echo the phrase that appears on the entrance of Nazi Auschwitz, even if accidental shows a lack of judgment for the reflection it would bring to the wider Germanic world.
The casting of a queer-phobic actor into a leading bisexual role (the Color Purple) has echoed angrily and awkwardly with queer audiences and creatives.
On the flip side, the New Zealand Prime Minster, Jacinda Ardern has evoked “Damnatio memoriae”. In Roman times the state condemned the memory of a person and erased their name from history, it’s been done within many civilizations.
"I implore you, speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless."
She’s condemned the recent terrorist to no name, such that their cause and “fame” fail.
Our words and actions echo like small and major myths. If you will speak to the wider world, the world will judge what words and actions you use.
UK casting of Color Purple
No name to the terrorist.