Purity, Words & Second Life

Pure Dreams (moderate)

I started thinking about words today, their use & misuse and the way some sequences of letters are arrogated by a philosophy or movement and get stuck there. This thought process was inspired by the name of the sim I was exploring, Pure Dreams↑.

It doesn’t matter any more that “purity” is, by definition, the absence of contaminants, it has over the centuries become associated with religious views on appropriate behaviour (almost always directed at women of course).

Pure Dreams (moderate)

Words are used to try and “sell” us things by hijacking the meaning and applying it in new and exciting ways meant at best to distract and at worst to deceive. I can remember a shampoo commercial that touted the presence of Optical Brighteners.

If you think about that for a minute you’ll realize it doesn’t actually mean anything, or at least it doesn’t mean anything legitimate. The company was forced to stop that particular campaign, sometimes governments frown on lies.

Pure Dreams (moderate)

Often a word is used to try and change our perception of a subject, alter its image as a public relations exercise. This is a technique known as “association”. If somebody can get you to think of their platform, product or position with a term you find comfortable or even attractive that affects your perception of them.

If their image is somehow negative, connecting themselves with a word having a positive connotation is a way to shape your reaction.

Pure Dreams (moderate)

One example inworld of a vocabulary initiative designed to shape public attitudes is the use of the word sophisticated by those in the adult-rated sphere to refer to the lifestyle, products and destinations. Personally I can’t think of anything less sophisticated than ball-gags, lap dances or sexual torture devices but that’s probably just ignorance (or purity) on my part. :)

If the public relations campaign works it will help the image of this area of the grid. Unfortunately, it will also taint what I have always considered a perfectly good word with an admittedly subjective meaning. To me stretching the definition of sophisticated to include bdsm is right up there with Optical Brighteners.

Pure Dreams (moderate)
Leave a comment


  1. It’s more fun to take a word with negative connotations and cause people great consternation by associating it with positive things. ;)


  2. Botgirl Questi

     /  September 3, 2012

    I loved this! The words and images complimented each other so well . . . and the photos are amazing.

    I agree with your point in the context of communication that intends to mislead people to believe something that is untrue or not in their best interests. An advertising industry that exists to make us unhappy with ourselves and dissatisfied with our current situation is one of the worst culprits. Unfortunately, the recent justification of lies great and small in the American presidential race makes me think that a substantial segment of the population believes that such manipulation is a valid tactic. Or maybe it’s just that years of lies has created so much cognitive dissonance that many people can’t take in new facts that contradict their erroneous preconceptions.

    Nevertheless, I do believe that the type of strategic manipulation of words, images and their emotional associations can also be used to enlighten rather than deceive. For instance, I often use parody instead of reasoned, fact-filled communication as a kind of zennish slap on the back of the head to encourage seeing in a new way. To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, I don’t necessarily believe everything I post.

    • Thank you :) And I’m a great believer and proponent of parody and satire. It’s the straight faced “trust me suckers” serious approach that irks. :p

  3. Beautiful photos!

  4. Flora Nordenskiold

     /  September 3, 2012

    Great post and beautiful images, I’m heading over to Pure Dreams!

  5. They tell me words change meaning over time, or not — at Christmas “don we now our gay apparel”.


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