Monday, October 13, 2003

Thought of the Day: business jargon in the fine arts
Interviewing a couple of tiny theater companies on the North Side for a Tribune story, I was struck, and disheartened, by the business jargon that kept seeping in to the speech of some otherwise creative artists. One theater calls their teen outreach program "ProjecTheater," in the MidWordCapital syntax of a charity of a Fortune 500 company. A coordinator for Gallery 37, the city's summer arts program, says working with this theater has been a "smooth collaborative effort." One playwright and director of what is pejoratively called a "fringe theater" explains the purpose of their youth programs: "You need strength in a lot of areas to be a viable organization, not just getting good reviews." Viable organization? Strength in a lot of areas? Is this the manager of a reportedly kinky show currently playing or the White House press secretary?

It got me thinking, if people this artsy-fartsy are talking like PR for Philip Morris, what does that show? That corporate-speak has leaked into all areas of life, and not even the most urbane outpost is safe? Or merely that when it comes time to organize yourself into an institution--to administrate--be it a corporate headquarters, a church, or a fringe theater, this is the natural mind-set?

-Previous Thought of the Day: contemplation as congruence

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