April 1, 2009

Once upon a time...

Have you noticed, recently, that the word 'Stories' keeps coming up?

It's usually plural, and I'm seeing it everywhere. First it was that national book chain, advertising that they have 'All the best stories' - and one of our TV channels boasts about their stories, and the library, too.

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino (1465) by Piero della Francesca. Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
More than just an interesting story.

Today, we received a flyer from a second hand bookshop, promising to deliver a new story for my Enjoyment! (Their caps). Not only do I hate random capitalisation (it's okay; I won't rant), but I'm beginning to get annoyed by this use of the word 'stories', too.

What does it mean? Why are all books suddenly 'stories' as if we are kids at bedtime needing to be soothed to sleep? Maybe we do want escape and fantasy reading. Are we really that stressed out? (Or are we listening to the media too much?) I'm not sure I want a juvenile relationship with words and books and the amazing strands of people's lives that make up the incredible wriggling mass of interesting, odd, and complicated humanity.

Do you?



Joanne said...

"Stories" hasn't started bugging me yet but I am so over "journey". The little I've watched of reality T.V. (bit of Idol, snippets of Loser) have killed that word for me. A journey, in its symbolic meaning of a process of self-discovery has become a few weeks of a very public crash course in whatever.
So I can relate to what you say. And you'll probably have me watching for similar "stories" now!

Hoppo Bumpo said...

Oooh, I'm with you. Stories irks me too. In our house a story is limited to something read at 7pm to the smalls .... or a creative fiction told by one boy to get the other in trouble!

Taccolina said...

Hey, you two have the same profile picture. What's the story there?
(ha ha ha -- just my little joke....)

I'm glad I'm not alone in my irksomeness.

cath said...

ahhh, semantics! one of my favourite topics ... thanks for pointing out something i am likely to notice everywhere now. and i agree with joanne - journey is very overused at the moment. out of curiosity, what WOULD you call them if not stories? (and that wasn't random capitalization, it was very intended) (smiles) ...

Taccolina said...

Hi Cathy,

Well, my point was that the word stories implies kids' tales for quiet sleepy entertainment. And here what started me off was a bookstore advertising ALL of their books as stories.

Not all books are stories. Some are discussions to be tussled with: history, philosophy, literature, technology. Some are radical: politics, biography, religion, literature, science. They're just not all sweet little tales - and I get cross when we, perfectly intelligent people, pretend that we are dumb and play down the glorious complexity of what human minds have come up with.

Do you see what I mean?