Gobbledegook

Alain Joudier has a nice post today on the strange and poncey (sp?) job titles being dished out these days. He was provoked by Hilton’s invitation to speak to a “Certified Hotel Specialist”. Alain continues

I was talking with a writer today and we discussed the unhealthy need for labels. She’s in an academic organization that regularly butchers the language with double speak and nonsensical phrases that may sound important but only hide the true intent of those using them—-mainly to get something over on the minions and masses while seeming “caring” and “employee-focused.”. Language defines us and sadly manipulates us as well. All of us who write for a living know our transgressions and we’ll have to account for them in another life.

As for me today I learned that I was “pre-approved to be approved” for a “generous” home equity loan, “the smart way to reduce those nagging high interest credit card balances.” You bet. I fear we are becoming inured to words that bring neither clarity to the human conmmunication process nor something more tangible like an honest connection with the real world we inhabit.

I share his frustration with the way our language is robbed of its fire by this kind of gobbledegook.

And I also know that I’m quite capable of using fancy language myself sometimes. It can be seductive.

I’d add that I don’t think people who do a lot of this are necessarily just indulging in a power play. I don’t think it’s as malign or calculated as that. Sometimes, I think jargon is used as shorthand (kind of ironic, given its waffliness) because of the pressure of time; to speak from the heart sometimes requires time for reflection which is not always easy to find.

4 thoughts on “Gobbledegook

  1. Veronica Combs

    I think people often use jargon to hide their lack of understanding of or knowledge about a topic. Jargon can help you sound like you know what you’re talking about when you really don’t. Your reasoning is much kinder than mine.

    Reply
  2. Johnnie Moore

    Veronica: I often initially think the jargon users are just bs-ing, but acutally I don’t think most of it is that intentional. I think people often get “stuck in their heads”, become a bit disembodied, and get lost in theory.

    And sometimes its just habit. Martin’s post explores that rather well I think.

    Reply
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