Copyright Martin Esposito - All rights reserved
Such is the language the great Oz employs to empower those approaching him to seek his advice. Three empty beings from the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms. And it works. He is able to make them whole by maieutically eliciting what force lies within them. But you know the story. So where have I been? Keeping busy, perhaps, but also keeping my promise. I remember once reading an article about the only newspaper circulating in the most remote island of Tristan Da Cunha. As the number closed, it would always bear the following: the next edition will be printed in the coming week if there is any news. Since I have no obligation to provide a regular front page for a paying readership, I have the privilege not to have to flatten real news against non-news simply to meet the deadline. And it has been dead: the polemic on machine assisted virtualization has died down, the various criminal justice systems and universities are nearly on holiday language-wise, and the big boys...well I suppose they've been busy too. So why do I pick up my keyboard? I'm worried. I've had more and more work which has required of me to learn a metalanguage. Company-speak, a lesson in vocabulary geared at promoting products. And why is this wrong? As a person who makes his money selling words, I should be less concerned than most. But look here: there is a trend among patients which entails going to a doctor to tell the practitioner in question what's wrong with you and how you should be healed. So why don't we do it ourselves? Well, it helps to have someone take the blame if things go wrong. The same happens in restaurants, fashion outlets, hotels...the customer is king - and the expert service provider is a mere executor acting rather passively and in a perfunctory way, with the added problem that s/he might be called to account when everyone ends up with egg on their face. Can we change any of this then? Well, probably not the world, but we could do ourselves up a bit. I shall call it serving with mastery. Think of it: rather than reluctantly kowtowing to illiterate projects involving language (no offence: it's just not their job sometimes) let us begin to respectfully lead, to everyone's advantage. Crazy? Well, I think it's what Apple Corporation did, not ten years ago, and it seemed to work for them. We're not Apple, some say. Clearly not then, I would agree. Does it work for me? Yes! Not always, but often enough to share here. I get it right when I can shift my brain away from the worry that they are going to blame me, or from the laziness that too much business can bring about. And the result can be empowering. Which brings us neatly back to the Wizard. Who was he? Not a good wizard, by his own admission, yet not a bad man. Just a man. With a megaphone. A bit like all of us, a bit like me now if you are reading this through the Facebook link (gotcha!). He is saved because he embraces change, and never suffers any inferiority complex. He returns home. Now I'd like to tell you where my home is professionally, but I just don't know. Kansas lies far away, in the great Country whose motto is the title you have no doubt recognised. Academically, I spent a little time in a place called Wisdom (La Sapienza university, Rome), but not enough to acquire residency, for too many reasons. But that motto stuck too: Il futuro è passato qui. I suppose my time warp began then, as well as other twists. It takes a linguist to correctly translate the future was once here. It takes respectful leadership and passionate proficiency to steer the mind away from the dangerous the future is the past, here. Which would you pay for? End of homily. Amen. I'll see you wayfarers on the road.
About this blog
A sideways glance at conference interpreting, living bilingual and balancing the composite identity. The poetics of a craft and a repository of past thoughts. (Some links may no longer be active).