Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Weasel Words

I think the bemused attitude I hold toward the English language is not stranger to this blog. Despite coming from a family of teachers and an education with a high priority on words, the basics still elude me and I am quite content to just let it all slide past into obilivion...

However, Don Watson is no such person. He has compiled a hilarious group of modern words, terms and phrases that have passed into popular usage and not always with the results one would expect. The book "Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, contemporary cliches, cant and management jargon" is quite utterly brilliant. You will never look at ye olde press release the same way again.

Take for instance the "energised fence." An electric fence? Somehow not, we are told, as it is labelled such against the 9000 volt fence surrounding the Baxter Detention Centre in SA. A Deputy Secretary in the Department of Immigration is quoted as saying...

"No, it is not an electric fence...It is an energised fence."

I could go on...and I will...but only for one more example. Take the word excellence, something we are all supposed to be striving toward. Even the Titan Corporation...the contractors in charge of interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Cuba's Guantanamo Bay prison:

"The energy and enthusiasm that our employees bring to the workplace creates an exciting place to work with a constant strive for excellence".

Things that make you go "Hmmmmmm...."

Posted by Dave The Hat :: 1:42 PM :: 0 Comments:

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