blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Well and good

This is an addendum to my previous blogpost.

When our Image Awareness Consultant came to the end of her presentation she concluded with the maxim,
If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good.
which I admit did make me think, that's true enough! On further reflection, though, I wondered if she meant: if you feel good, you do well, because nowadays, especially in North America, good is often a substitute for well, and people don't always grasp the difference between adjective and adverb nor the significance of what they're saying.

–– How are you? How are you doing?
–– Good, thanks. I'm good. 

This exchange is so commonplace that I've caught myself coming out with it (shock! horror!) but at least I'm conscious of the rule I'm breaking.

Everyone, except maybe an autistic person, uses language in order to fit in with a crowd, a way of behaving that's just as normal as dressing to impress other people. The first thing we notice about a stranger is the way they look, but the next thing we notice is the way they speak. Or maybe vice versa if we have our backs to them and hear them coming. What I was poking fun at in Friday's blogpost wasn't so much the advice that lady gave as the phrases she was using.

My daughter sent me an email, saying
I enjoyed your clothes blog! Won’t comment online...
so I'd better not quote from her too much. She did say, however:
there is a serious side to this [...] For some women dressing well and wearing makeup gives them the confidence to do what they otherwise couldn’t do. Even more seriously I once read that the first thing they gave women liberated from Concentration Camps at the end of the war was lipstick – even while they were starving and naked. Some women died within a day, but that lipstick gave them a few moments of being human again before they did. 
Another thing that's occurred to me since I published the last blogpost is that Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew is all about Image Awareness, several of the characters in it (Lucentio, Tranio and company) pretending for all they're worth to be something that they're not. Petruchio isn't half as bad as he makes himself out to be. Bianca isn't half as good. Katherina the Shrew herself learns from experience that her reputation as a girl who indulges in temper tantrums doesn't do her any good, so she's persuaded by her husband to adopt a far more effective image.

No comments: