Monday, 9 December 2013

Leather in Context


Context is important.  A comment in certain circumstances can be very entertaining and its meaning is interpreted based upon the environment in which it was said.  But the same comment can also be thoroughly inappropriate elsewhere.  Humour to a large extent is very much context dependent.
It is partially why I interact with the internet with caution.  Twitter is one of those tools that invoke high stress level responses.  It is so context dependent, permanent, public and quotable.        

At the moment I blog and have the opportunity to sleep on what I have written before I publish.  Twitter is reactionary.  It’s quick.  One line, press send.  Spend the rest of the day analysing its potential consequences, wishing you could turn back time... 

To a large extent, twitter highlights why context is so important in communication.  Consider the following paragraphs: 
....
She was ready.  She was a tough competitor and in a good position to win the competition having won three out of the four previous rounds. Dressed in her reinforced leather gear the breeze gently blowing her hair she watched the time go by, oh so slowly.  She wrung her hands nervously and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the light to change. 

The loud speaker boomed over the noise of the crowd and called her name.  She was up and so she took her place on the racetrack in pole-position. 
.....
She was ready.  She was a tough competitor and in a good position to win the competition having won three out of the four previous rounds. Dressed in her reinforced leather gear the breeze gently blowing her hair she watched the time go by, oh so slowly.  She wrung her hands nervously and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the light to change. 

The loud speaker boomed over the noise of the crowd and called her name.  She was up and so she took her place on the stage in pole-position. 
.....

Despite the paragraphs reading almost identical, there is a very different picture that comes to mind upon completion. 
‘Reinforced leather’ went from safety gear to raunchy garb with the change of a single word. 

That is the power of context, the importance of context and the significance of context. 
Whatever titbits of information you have, consider the context... the meaning may not be exactly what it appears to be.