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19 Sep 2011

Jargon – Nobody Wants to Know the Good Bits

I made an odd discovery when I was doing publicity for Pushing the Envelope last week – no one seems to be interested in the idea that some jargon is creative and even (perish the thought) interesting.

Personally, I love the idea that someone somewhere has coined the acronym WOMBAT to mean ‘waste of money, brains and time’. I love the concept of mushroom management – ‘keep them in the dark and feed them bullsh*t’ – and I’m also intrigued by the thought that this was once considered a positive thing to do, because if you feed them enough (even if it is sh*t) they will grow. I like the way expressions evolve so that people forget where they came from in the first place: this is a phenomenon that will, one day soon, make it possible to perform a ‘due diligence’ carelessly.

But do a phone-in on the subject and all you hear about is the ghastliness of expressions such as ‘knowledge base’ and ‘get with the programme’. It’s a shame: even this pond-life end of the language spectrum deserves some credit for – well, for pushing the envelope, for making language go that little bit further, higher and faster.

And let’s face it, we’re stuck with it, so we might as well enjoy it.

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