Friday, February 3, 2012

Linguistic bullshit I can't stand.

Until about five years or so ago, the word transparency was reserved for descriptions of window glass and cellophane. Then, seemingly all at once, it became something we all had to be. Politicians had to be transparent. Companies. Creative directors. Agencies.

In all my years I have never once used the word transparent.

I prefer the word honest.

Honestly say what you are doing. Answer people honestly. Honestly reveal your practices.

Honest is a perfectly good word. A stronger word than transparent. In fact, Merriam-Webster recognizes transparency meaning "characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices" as their sixth definition for the word.

I honestly think the word transparency has emerged on the scene because it is a weaker word than honest. It is yet more evidence of the namby-pampyization of our language.

After all, if you're not transparent, people say you're not transparent or opaque.

They don't, therefore, call a spade a spade.

If you're not honest, you're a liar. Liar is again a stronger word.

It's much worse to be considered a liar than to be considered opaque.


James said...

The fact that they're being conflated shows that people are more concerned with the FORMS of doing things right than actually doing right.

While there may be difference in nuance, the weaker word has come to supplant the stronger. It's akin to manners supplanting morality.

geo said...

Exactly my points, James. Well said.

Tore Claesson said...

Yes, I agree, language is often carefully designed to avoid real transparency. However, with my low calorie diet I will soon be transparent, literally.