Invasion of the Business-Speakers

MSNBC has a great interview with Don Watson, author of "Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak are Strangling Public Language." I haven't read the book, but it has been added to my list.


Working in a professional atmospheree, I have always thought that 'business speak' is crazy. There is no word I hate more than 'proactive.' What does that really mean?

For everyone that has ever giggled at a memo, here are some great excerpts and examples:

Does it infuriate you that everyone, from the local pastor to your kids school principal, seems to have a mission statement touting their core values.

He laments the fact that librarians are now referred to as: information needs identifiers, and that his 12-year-old granddaughters report card said that she had developed a variety of products in history class. He cites a John Deere tractor safety notice that warns customers to lock the brake or unexpected non-powered tractor movement may occur.

We are all customers. Even the CIA talks about having internal clients. Im quite sure that in another iteration, the Army will talk about enemy clients. Once they decide were all customers then the consequences for basic relationships in civil society are not good.

I think it happened when we decided to a greater or lesser extent that we live in an economy, not a society. Its become badge of honor for people in their professional lives so theyll bring it home with them. Soon theyll be saying: Were going to watch 'The Wizard of Oz' together in a family scenario.

In the book, you quote President George W. Bush as saying: We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates.

Ive collected examples that people have sent in on the Web site [www.weaselwords.com.au]. One of my favorites is from a high-school [evaluation]: Just as the skill and processes are not compartmentalized in the creation process, the evaluation of outcomes will occur against a background of understanding that separation of outcomes into discrete components is subordinate to the evaluation of the total process as a comprehensive outcome. Nobody has any idea what that means.

When you turn language into an assembly line, you take all the potential out of it. You can't write a poem in this language. You cant tell a joke, you can't convey feeling. You can't discover new meanings. This writing is incapable of taking you anywhere. It's deliberately circumscribed. It's almost an abuse of human rights.

Here's how we beat it:

How do we fight this abuse of language, or as you say, become a refusenik? When people use this jargon, ask them what they really mean.

But, there is hope:

Even after all the harm that American corporations have done to the language, there's still Mark Twain. Americans do great good for the language; they keep it alive and moving.


Guess Who's a Democrat?

Katie Couric: I read, though, that you're a Democrat. Is that true?
Rev. Billy Graham: Yes. I am.


Also here:

Graham called the Clintons "wonderful friends" and "a great couple," quipping that the former president should become an evangelist and allow "his wife to run the country."


Looks like Rev. Graham read into the New Testament as well.....

"The people of Wisconsin have lost a true progressive..."

Joe Wineke's statement on our loss:

Statement from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on the Passing of Gaylord Nelson
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Contact: Jessica Erickson (608) 255-5172 x 406 (voice) (608) 255-8919 (fax)

MADISON -- Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, released the following statement today on the passing of former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson:

"The people of Wisconsin have lost a true progressive -- a champion of the environment, of civil rights and liberties, who helped make our great state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

"Gaylord Nelson was a man of humble origins who went on to accomplish great things, yet never forgot his Wisconsin roots. He was a man of principle and passion, who was committed to public service and the work that needed to be done to keep Wisconsin progressive. He was part of an remarkable group of people who built the modern Democratic Party, and his influence remains strong today.

"As a politician, he possessed both the willingness and the ability to work across party lines for the common good. Even as he debated vigorously with those across the aisle, he still showed his political opponents respect, admiration, and friendship.

"Gaylord Nelson is best known as the founder of Earth Day and the modern environmentalist movement. As a young boy growing up in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, his love and respect for the environment grew -- and only deepened throughout his 89 years. He recognized long before most politicians the passion the American people felt for the environment -- and the importance of preserving our natural world for future generations. And he succeeded in placing the environment on the national political agenda.

"Nelson’s influence, however, was much more far-reaching. He was not only a champion of the environment, but also of civil rights, civil liberties, and consumer protection. As a U.S. Senator, he fought on behalf of small businesses and Wisconsin dairy farmers. He worked to fight poverty, and provide jobs and training for struggling workers.

"And even as his health declined in recent years, he continued the fight to protect the environment, calling on President Bush and Congress this past Earth Day to provide real leadership on environmental issues. He kept up the battle because, as he said, ‘our work’s not done.’

"Our work is not done. And it is up to us to pick up the torch Gaylord Nelson long carried, and fill the enormous shoes he left behind.

"Gaylord Nelson’s life is an inspiration to all Americans -- and we are proud to call him a Wisconsin son. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Nelson family as we remember his life of service and sacrifice."


We were discussing the life and legacy of Gaylord Nelson at an event Sunday night. I found out we have a member of the Winnebago Dems who has been trout fishing with Gaylord Nelson.

What an experience that must have been.

Governor Doyle Announces State of Wisconsin Will End Fiscal Year With a Positive Balance

Governor Jim Doyle today announced that the State of Wisconsin will finish the fiscal year (FY) in the black with an estimated balance of about $6 million. After Governor Doyle inherited a $3.2 billion deficit, FY05 marks the second consecutive year that the State of Wisconsin has been back in the black under Governor Doyle's leadership.

"When I came into office, I inherited a $3.2 billion dollar deficit -- the largest per capita deficit in the country," Governor Doyle said. "It was a hole so large no one thought it could be fixed without huge tax increases ... but by rolling up o! ur sleeves and cutting wasteful spending, we protected our core priorities like education, balanced the budget, and didn't raise a single tax."


While I may not always agree with his spending priorities, you cannot argue with his success in keeping his promise to balance Wisconsin's budget.

Gersh is Gone...

I have enjoyed Gersh Kuntzman's humor/interest column on MSNBC for awhile. This week he published his final one:

Parting Shots
My brand of liberalism has been called wacky, but now it’s the GOP that’s gone crazy on us.


I'll miss you, Gersh.