Some people may not know what this title means. And that is exactly the point. In a recent conversation with a friend, who was brainstorming some ideas for a conservation campaign, she was suggesting something along the lines of “Stop the fat lady from singing…” My response, “Not sure that’s PC these days? And does anyone know who the fat lady is anymore?”
If you are not sure, the phrase “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event while it is still in progress. It was used in reference to the buxom opera sopranos, with a specific reference to a twenty-minute farewell scene in Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen that leads directly to the finale. Full disclosure: even I had to look that up.
As our world evolves, we’ve thankfully moved past the need for canaries to tell us the oxygen is running low in the coal mine. But it makes me wonder – are we conscious of terms we use that might be eluding our audience? The canary term is often used in conservation to indicate there is a problem. But if it is no longer understood, are we getting the point across or creating more confusion?
As for the dodo, you don’t hear much about this poor extinct bird these days. However, I was impressed to hear all about it from a ten-year-old recently – kudos to his teachers. It underscores an important point: to get across the fragility of a species, we must help people understand the journey to extinction. And we must get our point across in a way that resonates with our audience. Having worked with many school groups, I know this is an area that needs addressing.
Our language is evolving, and so must we. We reduce words to acronyms, or even emojis, and new words are added to the dictionary every year. So, the big question is: how do we ensure our message is not lost in translation? In a Grammar Girl podcast, Gretchen McCullough mentioned an interesting point – that communication norms can vary widely among different groups and subcultures.
But there’s one constant amid all the changes and variations – the range of human emotion that is universal across all generations. This consistency is where the power of storytelling comes into play. A narrative that resonates can have a significant impact, thanks to the universality of our emotions. We must go back to the KISS principle of keeping it simple. If we can evoke a tear, bring a smile, or have someone laughing, then we have done our work.
So don’t give up the ghost just yet… 😉 We’ve got this.
What the world was musing over this past week
An abundance of creative advertising talent was celebrated at Loeries Creative Week in Cape Town. See all the winners here. It’s all about great ideas. Volkswagen’s Blind Spot took a Craft Gold for Art Direction.
Making a splash!
The 44th annual aerial survey of southern right whales by the whale unit reveals a bumper year of 1176 whales between Nature’s Valley and Muizenberg (Western Cape) with the most females (537) and calves counted since 1969.