Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Tongue firmly in cheek?

The Local Government Committee has called on the Scottish Government to cut down on jargon and to
publish an "assessment matrix of candidate national developments against the national development criteria"



Key bored warrior. said...

Malcolm Cordwell a Copywriter for Saatchi & Saatchi warns, "there can be a suspicion from the creatives in the company about confusing buzzwords used by more high powered account executives and there is evidence of people using these buzzwords without really understanding what they mean."

Jargon operates in such a way that the fear of ridicule prevents sceptics from questioning the mysterious pronouncements made by their bosses. Malcolm Cordwell concedes "most people turn these high powered buzzwords and acronyms into stupid sayings and make them fun." Again, humour triumphs over adversity and incomprehension. So, those who use jargon with bad intentions or partial understanding run the risk of making fools of themselves. Respect for management becomes undermined, as the meaning is lost in a confusing blizzard of worthless words.

Some prime examples, good and bad, of jargon you may come across:

Adminisphere - The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

Blamestorming - the practice of sitting in a meeting and shifting responsibility for poor performance or abject failure from department to department.

Blue sky ideas - Exceedingly novel or advanced concepts.

Cobweb Site - A World Wide Web site that hasn't been updated for a long time. A dead Web page.

Cube farm - an office containing many veal pens (see below).
Flashturbation - the excessive and self-congratulatory use of useless animation, usually on a web site.

Golden-handshake/parachute/handcuffs - receiving financial recompense for retiring/quitting/joining a company. Golden handcuffs are used when the reward is conditional on length of service or achievement.

Low-hanging fruit - Easy targets. Smartass arboreal baboons probably used this term in pre-human times.

Ohnosecond - that minuscule fraction of time in which you realize you've just made a big mistake.

Open-Collar Workers - People who work at home or telecommute.

Sacred Cow - Something, which cannot be questioned or eliminated. Nowadays, of course, there are no sacred cows.

Veal pen - the cubicles inhabited by denizens of the modern office.

Calum Cashley said...

Yup, I was just amused by the demand to cut the jargon followed by a jargon-crammed demand.

Jargon actrually serves some very useful communication purposes and everyone uses it. The art is in stripping out as much as you can when communicating with people outside that particular jargon circle - as in there would be little point in me talking to someone outside my campaign team about lateral slide in the Lib Dem vote but it makes perfect sense to us.

Stuart Winton said...


Calum Cashley said...


Richard Thomson said...

I remember a Dundee Partnership report calling for an 'end to jargon', then a few pages later exclaiming that what was needed to bring all their ideas to tackle poverty in the city to fruition was 'a catalytic synegiser'.

As the esteemed Steve Bargeton put it at the time, I'm sure Dr Who has a spare one somewhere.