Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Letter to Tate Britain about misuse of word ‘christened’ instead of ‘named’

Posted in Misusing religious words, Uncategorized by sheelanagigcomedienne on July 17, 2011

I do get exasperated when folk use religious language/words. Using the word CHRISTEN to mean NAME really irritates me and I am now on a mission to challenge whoever uses it. First up is The Tate Gallery and here is the letter I wrote to them.

Dear Members Secretary,

I visited the Romantics exhibition. I immediately noticed the misuse of the word ‘christened’ instead of ‘named’. As I am a Humanist and secularist this always galls me and I challenge those who have written/said it. I am a bit evangelical about challenging this and the way that religious words seep into everyday language. This is why I am writing to you about this and I look forward to your response.
I did buy a Grayson Perry pendant – a piece of affordable art from an artist I love. I appreciated his piss take of the gaudy religious images and especially the creepy reliquaries purporting to be bits of bone, skin, hair etc of saints and Jesus. This did compensate for my irritation about using the word ‘christen’ and I have mentioned it in my Sheela-na-Gig blog.

I am also looking forward to the proposed renovation for an expanded members area.

Yours sincerely,

Jeanne Rathbone

HERE IS THE NICE RESPONSE  FROM TATE MEMBERS SECRETARY.

Thank you very much for your email comment. We don’t have an ‘official’ position on this, although I am aware that some newspapers do. Your point is well made however and I shall pass it on to my colleagues who advise on questions of style. I shall also make sure that this circulated in our monthly report on visitors’ concerns. I should respectfully point out though that you describe yourself as ‘evangelical’ about this, which just goes to show how ingrained these words are in everyday language!
 
I am really glad that you like the Grayson Perry pendant and very pleased indeed that you gave it a mention in your blog. The pendant is a very eloquent piece of work and I absolutely understand its attraction.
 
Thank you again for your time and trouble, I hope that you will continue to support us and to visit and enjoy our exhibitions and displays.
Best wishes
Richard Gray
NICE ONE.    HE DID SPOT AND COMMENT ON MY DELIBERATE  USE OF A RELIGIOUS WORD.
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