This story by Molly Young on why corporations speak nonsense is the best thing I’ve read in a long-time:
But unlike garbage, which we contain in wastebaskets and landfills, the hideous nature of these words — their facility to warp and impede communication — is also their purpose. Garbage language permeates the ways we think of our jobs and shapes our identities as workers. It is obvious that the point is concealment; it is less obvious what so many of us are trying to hide.
I’m partially biased because I spend a lot of my time helping companies talk like humans instead of broken computers. And I suppose I might not have a job if humans always spoke clearly:
When we adopt words that connect us to a larger project — that simultaneously fold us into an institutional organism and insist on that institution’s worthiness — it is easier to pretend that our jobs are more interesting than they seem. Empowerment language is a self-marketing asset as much as anything else: a way of selling our jobs back to ourselves.
Either way, I think this is a must-read. I enjoyed every word—well, the non-garbage ones at least.