Saturday, 3 January 2015

I'm real.

I love Neil Cooper and, it turns out, I love Peter York. Coops posted the link to York's attack on authenticity. After getting slightly pissed off at the whole Azaelia and Iggy beef (ideas of authenticity came up there, with their old pal, racial stereotyping), I thought this would be another slow clap for The Guardian as one of their writers woke up to something the rest of the world realised in 1996, that authenticity, as a concept, is a vague idea that can't be located in the world as lived, but is an advertising short-hand for 'good'.

But York is on the money, so I am going to steal his words and nod my head in agreement.

Having noted that anyone who uses the word is trying to sell something - it's true, he's trying to sell his book - York associates it with a bunch of other words that are used to deceive (vibrant, passionate, creative - all of them on my dating profile). 

I'd do deeper. There is a whole lexicon of associated words - authentic, real, street, whatever - that are supposed to signify an object's unique value. Unique is another one, only no-one knows what it really means, and constantly misuse it.

The word confers a quality on the object, but also onto the observer. The object is special, and the observer is special enough to know it is special. It's elitist - which I can live with - and dishonest. It implies that authenticity is possible. 

It's not. 

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