A Conversation for Furniture Tables
Maolmuire Started conversation Oct 15, 2003
Nice article, seems fairly comprehensive, but there are two table types not mentioned as far as I can see, and maybe they should be:
Fragilis - h2g2 Cured My Tabular Obsession Posted Oct 15, 2003
Operating tables are called surgical tables in the article, and have been covered. You are right that altars have not. And for that matter, neither have podiums. If they were to be covered, I would write:
Altars and Podiums
Altars can be thought of as tables designed to hold up holy books and tracts. They are often a focal point in buildings meant for communal worship, and as such, they may be elaborately designed.
The modern secular relation to the altar is the podium. Both devices create an aura of authority around the speaker. Both hold up any needed notes or other prewritten materials for the speech or sermon. And both may sport microphones in cases where the audience is very large in number.
Podiums differ most obviously in their almost universally simplistic design. Unlike most altars, many podiums are also created with portability in mind. Some even have wheels at the base. And in fact, the many stages and auditoriums that include podiums seem to add them as an afterthought to the design process. Podiums are largely used for speeches about business, education, politics and government.
Some speech classes urge shy speakers to avoid using the podium as a shield to hide them from the audience. They recommend that the speaker leave the podium for brief intervals in order to appear more approachable and confident. This injunction is dropped only when the speaker is being video taped, in which case moving around may cause difficulties for the camera operator. In stark contrast, some religious officials behave as if leaving the altar would be a breach of decorum.
And that leads to the last note. "Leaving the altar" is a phrase coined to describe someone who backs out of a wedding ceremony at the last minute. This is because the bride and groom in many Christian-based ceremonies traditionally stand in front of the priest. And he may remain behind his altar even during such a festive and personal event.
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