Sunday, December 29, 2013

Words without meaning.

Timothy Egan, who writes op-eds for the digital edition of "The New York Times," has won the writer's "Daily Double." His book, "The Worst Hard Time," won a National Book Award and he's also won a Pulitzer Prize for his study of how race is lived in America. Earlier this year, he also earned acclaim for his latest book, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher," a look at the life of the pioneering photographer Edward Curtis.

In short, Egan is someone worth reading, way moreso than the mindless lists that seem to have taken over serious writing the way red algae destroys marine eco-systems. It baffles me that people choose to read "14 Desserts Better than Cronuts," rather than the writing of someone like Egan, or three-time Pulitzer-winner Thomas Friedman, or Nobel-Prize-winner, Paul Krugman.

Of course, there's no accounting for taste, or how people spend their time. And if you choose to be a nimrod, well, fine.

In any event, Egan's column today is called "Words for the Dumpster," and he lists and explains words he hopes never to see again. Many of the words Egan writes about have infected our industry. I'm with Egan. Not only would I love never to hear them again, I'd love to see the blowhards who use them ostracized and excoriated. You can read Egan's article here.

Here's a sampling from Egan's hate list that we've heard all too much of in our offices.

Artisan. Today everything is artisanal--from Ziploc bags to Hot Pockets. The word has become so ubiquitous that it has lost all meaning.
Brand. We speak today about brands the way philosophers speak of life. As if it's something theoretical and wooly. Brands are not about design, they're about doing things, standing for something. As for you personal brand, show me your work. Show me what sort of integrity you have and what your work-ethic is like. Those things are much more important than your fucking logo.
Gluten-Free. Unless you bona-fide have celiacs disease, eat in moderation and chill out.
24/7. Here I'll quote Egan: No longer a byword for helpful availability, 24/7 evokes bad hours, poor pay and some customer service rep in India trying to explain an HDMI cable at 3 a.m.
Best Practices. To my mind, best practices is a coded attempt to make copying acceptable.
World-Class. I can't even understand what this phrase means. By the time it's applied to dry cleaners, virtually every car on the road, and every coffee bean ever picked, it has really lost all meaning.

There's more, that you'll find  from Egan.

That's enough from me...

No comments: