It seems that in every field of endeavor today “bafflegab” is becoming the language of the age. There was a time when things were expressed as simply and clearly as possible. These days, if some concept is simple, keeping it that way is not acceptable. Simple is out and complex is in. Today, everything must sound big and impressive.
In reality, the basic, tried and true idea often stays the same, but it must be freshly wrapped in a new name or description. The theory is that people will take greater notice and be dazzled by the overblown language and image. They will assume the user of such language must really know what they’re doing and must surely be right on top of things. Yeah. Sure. Right.
Bafflegab to grow your business
We’re probably all familiar with the ongoing jargon. Every day we hear it — vision, empowerment, strategem, up-side, expedite, clarification, and, of course, the ever-popular mission statement.
There’s also an epidemic of acronyms today. In the past, there seemed to be only a few, such as NATO, RADAR, UNESCO, WAC, RCMP, etc. But now, these words that are formed from the initial letters of a name, pervade business and have become especially popular in education. For example, in school there’s SIC (School Initiated Course) and SIP (Student Initiated Project). Old-fashioned single words like “course” and “project” are now deemed to be too bland and are in need of a bafflegab-acronym helper to make them sound more exciting and progressive.
For the same reasons, we are deluged daily by “visioneering,” “action plan,” “think-tank,” and “blueprinting.” We used to say thinking and planning, but apparently those words are not good enough anymore.
As we lumber ominously onward, here are a few more language-fuzzifiers that are being used to disguise sloppy thinking:
• Channelize, as in, “Let’s channelize this,” really means creating a trail of wandering inter-office memos.
• Conferencing, as in, “He’s conferencing, at present,” really means that he’s hiding and no one can find him.
• Processing, as in, “This requires processing,” really means that the issue is going to become so wrapped up in red-tape that no one will ever recognize it and it will eventually fade away.
• Paradigm shift, as in, “What’s needed here is a paradigm shift,” really means that they’re going to force people to do something that they don’t want to do.
• Survey-study-stage, as in, “It’s at the survey-study-stage,” really means that more time is needed to figure it out and a massive delaying tactic is underway, disguised as a survey.
• Big picture, as in, “Let’s give so-and-so the big picture,” really means that so-and-so is going to receive a long, confused and totally inaccurate description of the project.
• Policy, as in, “Here’s our policy,” actually means: “We don’t really know what our policy is but we’re ready to stick-handle around it with a bunch of confusing double-talk.”
• Research-driven, as in, “The solution was research-driven,” really means that the solution was discovered by accident.
• Diversity in thinking, as in, “We seem to have a diversity in thinking here” — they couldn’t just say, “Difference of opinion?”
• Collaboration used to be known as working together.
• Co-ordinator is someone who sits at a desk between two “expediters.”
• Expediters are people who let the co-ordinator do all the work.
• Reliable source is someone you just met.
• Informed source is the guy who told the guy you just met.
• Unimpeachable source is the guy who started the rumour in the first place.
• “Please pass on,” really means, “I don’t want any part of this and I’ll bet you don’t either.”
• “Read and initial” is the same as, “Please pass on.”
• “Will advise,” really means, “Don’t expect to hear from me on this.”
As bad as all this is these days, it gets worse when you consider the general deterioration of grammar and spelling. Both have gone completely out of style!
The advent and pervasiveness of smartphone texting has killed them both.
Sadly, the 140-character message has reduced spelling and language to something from the past. U no what I meen?