Monday, October 11, 2004

DEJUNKING. Went to a book party for Ken Smith's Junk English 2, which, like its predecessor, distills some words and phrases that have become through misuse (or prevarication) meaningless (or worse) to their true essences. Examples:
Comfort Words. Nebulous nouns -- factor, function, status, system, and their kind -- when used to modify already abstract nouns that need no modification, are like hot fudge poured over fudge-flavored ice cream. [e.g.] business entity = business... cost factor = cost... crisis scenario = crisis... weather conditions = weather...

Customer relationship management... is what happens when companies try to sell their ability to anticipate customer needs and thus increase sales... The promoters of customer relationship management want you to think of CRM as a euphemism for its outcome -- personal service -- rather than for its hidden workings -- invasion of your privacy...

Product is turning up behind the names of products for no apparent reason. [e.g.] "It is actually quite impressive to see how the Penders family developed this amazing 'one size fits all' hair rinse product."
It is sad that this job needs to be done (and that it is so large as to require a second volume of corrections, at least), but it is nice to see that someone is trying to do it. Here at alicublog we treat inanities on a larger scale with less delicate instruments, but just as nanotechnology and gene therapy show promise as ways of attacking cancer, so the reform of our muddled discourse may be more efficiently achieved at the etomylogical level.

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