Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cluetrain Manifesto and the Language of the 18th Century French Court

A few classes ago we were talking about the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto and the reference to the language of the 18th century French court.
In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business -- the sound of mission statements and brochures -- will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.
In order to do some background research on the reference I asked Dr. Gregory Brown, a faculty member at UNLV who teaches a class on French Cultural History in the 18th Century. In an e-mail reply, he said that the reference to the language of the course "is clearly referring to the highly scripted nature of many social interactions among the king, queen and their courtiers."

He went on to say that the classic work in this area is Norbert Elias' Court Society, which is based "primarily on sources from the 17th century rather than the 18th, but the points are more or less valid." He added that might be especially interesting to us "since Elias (writing in the 1930s) makes comparisons of 17th-century courtiers to 'modern businessmen' in terms of their interactions."

He also suggested we could read his book where he also writes a bit about the French court.

Thanks Dr. Brown!