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Friday, 26 June 2009

Strange use of language

In 1968 my partner's girlfriend brought me back a present from the US.

It was the very first Jackson 5 album - and of course the extraordinary thing about it was little Michael.

A sad, sad, tormented life gone. I thought his remark about his father really got to the heart of him. "He was a brilliant manager. But I wanted a Dad."

I only hope we're not going to see the sort of lachrymose bilge that poured out when poor Princess Diana died.

On the other hand, it would be preferable to the twitter from Lily Allen: "Michael Jackson dead? You're fucking kidding!" How very appropriate and typical.

On the use of language, John Walters sent me something interesting.

A survey by Office Angels reveals that two-thirds of office staff use unnecessary jargon to confuse opponents and seem superior. But 40% of those surveyed found it irritating and distracting, and 10% thought it made the most frequent users sound pretentious and untrustworthy.

The most common and least understood phrases are:

Low-hanging fruit, e-tailing, talk off-line, blue-sky idea, win-win situation, think outside the box, holistic approach, level playing field, sanity check, put to bed, whole nine yards, helicopter view, gap analysis, touch base, rain check, sing from the same hymn sheet, finger in the air, get in bed with, big picture, benchmark, ball park, ticks in all the right boxes, strategic fit, bread and butter.

But when it comes to sheer mindless incomprehensibility, how about this, sent me by Howard? He was trying to find out what a particular person's background was.

The reply said the person is ”an experienced professional with particular expertise in starting and growing businesses in highly technical, business critical, business to business environments combining product and service content.”

Howard commented that "Apart from “fuck off” I’m not entirely sure how to respond."

He then, with what sounds suspiciously like cynicism, said to me: "You really must start an awareness campaign. I’m sure the government will have a suitably pointless grant available."

Incidentally, dear readers, on the matter of pointless expenditure I just came back from Bulgaria to read that The Toad is spending £4 for every £3 raised in taxes. The man is an idiot and should be locked up.

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