I’ve just read an article which used “problematised” as a verb. Apart from causing me to stumble and have to re-read the whole sentence, this uncommon word illustrates perfectly the problem with so much “educated” writing. And with journalism.
Discussing this on Twitter earlier this afternoon, I said I’d save the writer from further embarrassment. And the editor. But I’ve changed my mind, because I’m going to pull them into this conversation.
The author is Jeff Sparrow. The editing is by newmatilda.com. And the article is certainly something I’m interested in understanding: The Golden Age Of Publishing is an essay on the challenges facing publishers as we move into the digital era.
Here’s the whole paragraph:
That’s why the glory days of the press coincided with the long boom after the Second World War, a time of relative economic and social stability, in which Keynesianism explicitly validated public works and the public sphere. Since then, however, the turn back to marketisation that reached its zenith with neo-liberalism has problematised, more and more explicitly, the very notion of a public. In the idealised free market, there is, as Margaret Thatcher famously explained, no such thing as society — there’s simply an aggregation of competing individuals. In the midst of that fragmentation, the old newspaper model no longer makes sense.
“Problematised”? I’d never seen the word before! I thought it might mean “position as a problem” or something like “assert it’s a problem rather than a benefit”. But no.
So what the hell is this about?