Thursday, July 20, 2017

English as she is spoke.

My FFB (friend from blogging) Dave Trott just sent me the following link. Yet another slaughter of comprehension perpetrated by the Jargonocracy. You can read the article here.

Years ago when I was working at the world's most-awarded digital agency, I was daily confronted with a flood of bullshit, proclamations and obiter dicta. 

I'd be told things, or briefed, in a language only roughly resembling English, that I simply couldn't understand. For instance, I'd hear from someone or another that what was most important for brands was to "earn" Facebook likes.

Rather than accept such cockeyed notions, I'd do something that was regarded as heretical. 

I'd ask for proof.

I'd say, "give me one example of a brand built that way." Or I'd say "I'm 50 years old and make a lot of money, I've yet to click on a banner ad or social tile. Please show me proof they work."

That policy, of course, brings me back exactly where it should, to George Orwell, who said "in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

I think of these professional bullshit artists as the traveling snake oil salesmen of the early part of the 20th Century. By the time they're exposed as frauds, they've picked up stakes and moved onto other prey.

The jargonauts are very good.

Their proclamations are almost always one-step ahead of logic. 

All that is a long way of saying, it's time once again to reprint a small portion of George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." (It might have been called "Marketing and the English Language," but Orwell had bigger fish to fry than account executives.)

In any event, here goes.

It's worth pinning to your wall.

1.  Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2.  Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3.  If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4.  Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5.  Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6.  Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


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