Friday, February 20, 2015

Why You Should Package Name, Place and Institution-Dropping into One Sentence

FT's Simon Kuper explains:
In a networked age, the key status marker is name-dropping. The speaker will often follow the name-drop with a telltale pause (“as I was telling Merkel, errr . . . ”), revealing that in his mind, the sentence is complete.
Then there is “place-dropping”. This too has ancient roots. In 1963 the Chicago Tribune was already jokily advising readers that if somebody boasts about his holiday to France, you should reply that you went to Greenland. But “place-dropping” has spread way beyond holidays. Today’s 1 per center has a carbon footprint that climate sceptics can only dream of. Familiarity with major capitals is assumed, so the canny conversationalist instead uses gambits like, “In Brisbane I always . . . ” The journalist Spud Hilton, in an analysis of place-dropping, identifies the correct response: “Yeah, me too.”...
The third essential conversational status-marker: institution-dropping. The institution might be your kids’ school (a limitless source of tedious conversation in London or New York — now I’m place-dropping too) or your old college. Jill Abramson, former editor of The New York Times, saved herself the conversational effort by having “H” for Harvard tattooed on her back. Such institutions “are the last vestige of elitism because you cannot fake them and they are really not democratic,” says Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of the forthcoming The Sum of Small Things: Culture and Consumption in the 21st Century.
Because everyone is anxious to state their status, speaking time in today’s conversations is limited. The savvy speaker will therefore package name, place and institution-dropping into efficient phrases like, “You know who introduced me to the Seychelles? Barry Obama, back at Harvard!”

1 comment:

  1. Man, that's tawdry, place-dropping. Here in the Bahamas, as I was just telling Leonardo, we would NEVER do that, unlike back at Yale.