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Spearing Bafflegab

pbi

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/the-growing-pandemic-of-political-speak-1.2618268

Good CBC piece here on work by Canadian born Stephen Pinker, a  Harvard thinker who has taken on the whole sickening issue of the idiotic way that many politicians, corporate types and academics speak these days.

The article's author gives an example:

...My daughter, a senior at McGill, was recently puzzling over a criticism by Wahneema Lubiano, a professor at Duke University, of Spike Lee's film Do the Right Thing.

Lee's use of "vernacularity cannot guarantee counter-hegemonic cultural resistance," chided Lubiano. "One can be caught up in Euro-American hegemony within the vernacular, and one can repeat the masculinism and heterosexism of vernacular culture. Vernacular language and cultural productions allow the possibility of discursive power disruptions, of cultural resistance — they do not guarantee it.".
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And other such blither. We see and hear it everywhere. "Going forward" instead of "in the future". "Highly impactful" instead of "will have an effect" or "we've dialogued that" instead of "we've talked about it".

And, of course "we'll revisit that" instead of "Ooops! We f****cked up!"

What really bothers me is the increasing tendency for this sort of obscurant rubbish to creep into military communications: to a certain extent I think it is a disease that is spread from the political/bureaucrat world in Ottawa into NDHQ, and then outwards across the CAF, usually at the GO/FO level.
 

Infanteer

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"Bottom line up front", or "in order to" (as opposed to just "to"), etc etc.  Take your pick.

Orwell's essay at the link has always been a favorite of mine:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit
 

The Bread Guy

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pbi said:
What really bothers me is the increasing tendency for this sort of obscurant rubbish to creep into military communications: to a certain extent I think it is a disease that is spread from the political/bureaucrat world in Ottawa into NDHQ, and then outwards across the CAF, usually at the GO/FO level.
It's not JUST DND/CF suffering from this disease.  Can't find the graphic, but over my desk is a sign I made up:  "Government writing:  Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity - pick any two.
Infanteer said:
Orwell's essay at the link has always been a favorite of mine:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit
Very good reference.  Although I disagree with his (and others') concerns about the use of Latin-based words, my fave quote from this one:
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink
Keep that in mind the next time you read bafflegab.
 

pbi

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Ahemm...yes, well.... :-[


It seems that I actually write like this, from time to time. Hmmmm.

These reminders from Orwell are always true, and often forgotten:


    -Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
    -Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    -If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  - Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    -Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  - Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

As Winston Churchill (himself a master of complex sentences and pompous expressions along with his flashes of brilliance) once said: "this is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which we shall not put"
 

The Bread Guy

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pbi said:
Ahemm...yes, well.... :-[


It seems that I actually write like this, from time to time. Hmmmm.
If we're all as honest as you, we know we all do sometimes.  I'm guessing this tends to happen when:
1)  one of the bosses who'll be looking over the material likes it that way, and/or
2)  multiple levels of reader look at something and, feeling the need to do SOMETHING to it (because, after all, as Mark Twain said, "There is no urge so great as for one man to edit another man's work").  I'm often amazed how different something I write looks as it goes into the "approval sausage machine" compared to how it comes out.

All we can do is do our best as it goes in. 

 

McG

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pbi said:
Ahemm...yes, well.... :-[


It seems that I actually write like this, from time to time. Hmmmm.

These reminders from Orwell are always true, and often forgotten:


    -Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
    -Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    -If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  - Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    -Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  - Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

As Winston Churchill (himself a master of complex sentences and pompous expressions along with his flashes of brilliance) once said: "this is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which we shall not put"
All of this can be taught.  If public education and universities are failing to teach this, then unit adjutants and military staff courses need to become the mechanism to train our junior officers.  However, this task should not fall to the military.  The ability to communicate clearly should be a prerequisite for graduating high school.
 

OldSolduer

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pbi said:
As Winston Churchill (himself a master of complex sentences and pompous expressions along with his flashes of brilliance) once said: "this is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which we shall not put"

Was Winston related to Yoda?
 

Edward Campbell

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Jim Seggie said:
Was Winston related to Yoda?

Yoda-Churchill.jpg
 

George Wallace

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Seen.


Just, for safety sake, don't tell her she is ugly when you wake in the morning.    >:D
 

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George Wallace said:
Seen.


Just, for safety sake, don't tell her she is ugly when you wake in the morning.    >:D
[/quote

Or risk getting her wooden leg upside your head.
 

The Bread Guy

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pbi said:
These reminders from Orwell are always true, and often forgotten:

    -Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
    -Never use a long word where a short one will do.
    -If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  - Never use the passive where you can use the active.
    -Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  - Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
A few more interesting rules:
Bl6w7vkIUAAb_C8.jpg
 
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