Tuesday, July 21, 2020

"Extravagant inanity"

Personally speaking, the most offensive thing about what Andre Spicer calls "business bullshit" - or, to use the term Molly Young borrows from author Anna Wiener for this Vulture article, "garbage language" - is the way that it masquerades as a mode of communication while actually having the precise opposite function. It's a means of being deliberately obscure and obtuse, of making yourself and your job seem important while making anyone unable to speak or understand the language feel inadequate.

Spicer has argued cogently that such talk is actually a damaging blight on business, something that Young also hints at in claiming that "the point of these phrases is to fill space" and that many people's working day would be significantly shorter if everyone had to talk plainly. Interestingly, she identifies the contemporary office surveillance culture as one explanation for the rise of meaningless corporatespeak: "In an environment of constant auditing, it's safer to use words that signify nothing and can be stretched to mean anything, just in case you're caught and required to defend yourself."

No comments: