Tales From the Bitface (Posts about pivot)https://devilgate.org/enContents © 2020 <a href=”mailto:martin@devilgate.org”>Martin McCallion</a> Thu, 11 Jun 2020 11:57:46 GMTNikola (getnikola.com)http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rssPivoting Around Wordshttps://devilgate.org/blog/2017/03/04/pivotting-around-words/Martin McCallion<p>I should start a new category here, for word-use. In fact, having written that, I just have: <a href=”http://devilgate.org/blog/category/language”>language</a> (hopefully that link will work once I publish this).</p> <p>Today I want to talk about the word “pivot.” As you know, pivot has come, over the last few years, to mean change direction, especially in a political context. A recent example from the <cite>New Yorker</cite>: <a href=”http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/dont-be-fooled-donald-trump-didnt-pivot”>Don’t Be Fooled. Donald Trump Didn’t Pivot</a>.</p> <p>It sort of makes sense, but like many knew usages, I can’t help but wonder <em>why</em> it has come into this use.</p> <p>And for this one I also can’t help but wonder to what extent <cite>Friends</cite> is responsible.</p> <p>You’ll know the episode I’m thinking of, if you’ve seen it: Ross is moving in to a new apartment, and being too cheap to pay the delivery charge, ropes Rachel in to help him move a sofa. Inevitably they get stuck on the stairs, and he keeps shouting at her, “Pivot! Pivot!” to try to get her to turn the sofa in an unspecified direction.</p> <p>Of course, he might have been using it quite precisely: the sofa probably needed to rotate about a fixed point, which is what “pivot” originally meant.</p> <p>What it has come to mean, in politics, is a change of direction less than a U-turn (or flip-flop); but still quite a substantial one. I suppose it has a sense of turning without moving forward at the same time. Though I may be overthinking it there. It’s quite descriptive, but it seems like it has becoming ubiquitous incredibly quickly; and is already practically a cliche.</p> <p>Of course that’s just my view of the <a href=”http://devilgate.org/blog/2017/02/08/optics/”>optics</a> of the thing.</p> friendslanguagepivotword-usehttps://devilgate.org/blog/2017/03/04/pivotting-around-words/Sat, 04 Mar 2017 23:48:27 GMT