Friday, July 04, 2008

Bad Words

Recently a news item out of the U.K. cited a report recommending 100 specific words that should be banned from government documents.

According to the Local Government Association local democracy “will be threatened with extinction” if words like “coterminosity” and phrases like “can- do-culture continue to muddle up reports.

This argument interested me. The point, which seemed to have been missed by many who proffered an analysis, is that government reports need to be written in a way that can be understood by all. We shouldn’t hide behind jargon and bafflegab.

We are “partnershipped” to death these days with “value added” and “proactive” service “facilitated” for us with a “single point of contact.”

Has the word “sustainable” overstayed its welcome? What is really meant by “best practice” and who is a “stakeholder” anyway?

The report inspired your blogger to “fast track” and use his “capacity” to find a “bottom up” but “holistic” way to put forward “value added” analysis and thereby find an “early win” through “evidence based” solutions and “process driven” output for you, my “customers.”

I’m Not Making this One Up

While inspired, alas, I can offer no new insights on how to better use language but, thankfully, can.

The website provides “news from a Christian perspective” and has a policy to replace offensive words with, well, less offensive words.

Earlier this week when American sprinter Tyson Gay won the U.S. Olympic Trials the website dutifully altered the Associated Press recap of the event. Gay became Mr. Homosexual as in “Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.”

Homosexual will be “someone to watch in Beijing next month.”

And how does the new champion feel. The website offered this: “It means a lot to me, the 25 year old Homosexual said.”

This Part I’m Making Up

We think that is on to something.

Let’s get rid of those offensive names in politics.

Bad language is out. Burlington M.P. Mike Wallace becomes Mike Walldonkey.

Sexist terms are forbidden too. Mayor Cam Jackson will from now on be known as Cam Jacperchildren.

And let’s work on political images while we are at it. There is no room for cowards in politics. Ward One Councillor Rick Craven is now Richard Braveheart.

There you go. And you’re welcome.