Wednesday, September 03, 2014

1378 The Two Faces of Transparency

Wait a minute.  How can something you see through have a face?  Well…

Before we get to that, let’s examine “transparent,” which, along with its variations and formations has become yet another of those overused words like “interface,” which has fallen out of fashion -- mercifully.

“Transparent” means you can see through it. Modern dictionaries allow that it is sometimes used as an antonym for hidden or secret.  But modern dictionaries are works of stenography, not instruction.  An antonym for transparent would be opaque.

So, let’s be hard shell linguistic conservatives and use the word as it should be.

If you’re transparent, I can see what’s behind you.  But I can’t see you.  Transparent is closer to “invisible” than it is to much else.

If you use the word transparent as a way of saying you operate in the open, you are lying. It means we can’t see you at all.

So when you say that, we hard-shells think you mean you’re hidden to the naked eye.  That’s face one.

Face two is just misuse.  Transparent does not mean you’re out in the open… it means you’re so sneaky we don’t even know you’re there.

Suggestion: use “translucent.”  That means we can see you, sort of.  We know you’re doing something but we’re not sure what until you tell us or until the partial opacity clears.

Yeah, yeah, opaque doesn’t have the stark snap of transparent.  But at least it’s not deception.

Transparency has donned the cloak of Orwell.  Someone tells you he favors transparency, you know he’s hiding something.

While we are on the subject of seeing through matter, let’s consider fashion.

A million years ago, when someone wore a see-through top, you pretty much noticed everything that was behind it.  That was the idea.

Wonder if you’ve noticed that there isn’t much of that around anymore.  Today’s styles are so revealing no one needs a see-through anything.

Dresses and tank tops are cut so low and the hems of tank tops are cut so high, you hardly need any imagination.  
You can appreciate anatomy -- male or female -- without having to know the size, shape or color of any particular body part.

Attention men: Speedos don’t come in 3XL for a reason.

Attention women: push up bras can allow you to do more with less, but practically hanging out of them is not attractive or appealing.

Let’s be completely transparent about these issues.  We clear on that?

Shrapnel:

--Here’s how to stop fights over airline seats.  Get the travel industry on the side of the passenger.  When Expedia or Priceline or any of the giants start refusing to book one airline or another, that airline will start listening to peoples’ complaints about seating arrangements.

--One company has designed a plane seat in which you can recline without interfering with the passenger behind you.  Think we’ll ever see these in mass production?  Read the full story in Business Insider.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2014

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