Your RDA of Irony

Junk Food, Junk English

At least in the good old days, evil was grammatical. William Vanderbilt was shameless but intelligible when he growled, “The public be damned.” Today’s Robber Baron would say, “The nonvested stakeholders vectorize retrogressively.”

A prominent producer of Junk Food is advertising for a “Transformation Communication Lead.” That used to be called “writer.”
Here is the job description, along with the all-too-necessary translation.

The Release Communication Lead will be responsible for supporting the development and execution of release communications as defined by the communications approach and strategy.

You will parrot whatever you are told by a lying MBA or a blathering HR buffoon.

Responsible for working with the Readiness & Training team, One Up Release Leadership, One Up Communications Lead and the business to manage and optimize communications efforts in support of the Release Five deployment. Manage communication activities to ensure the associates and key stakeholders progress through the change process to ensure adoption of the new systems and processes.

Your responsibilty is to ensure that everyone gets One Up their’s.

Ability to take ownership and independently drive progress in a matrixed organization.

In the event of a scandal, you are the scapegoat.

Tolerance for ambiguity

You should enjoy dishonesty or be too stupid to know when the company is lying.

This is a junk food conglomeration. It makes some of our favorite cholesterol. Since we already know that its products are cheerfully killing us, why would its corporate communications need to be cryptic and oblique? What further scandals need to be surpressed? Did Cap’n Crunch command death squads to kill labor organizers among the Keebler Elves?

No, once again, the miscreants of Human Resources are waging their vendettas against coherence. And they are stacking the corporation communications department, hiring only those who share their determination to replace intelligible English with impenetrable jargon.

Or should I say, a matrixed pro-activized terminological jargonization.

  1. Bob Kincaid says:

    But where did it COME from, Eugene? What vile linguisto-devil STARTED this garbage?

    It sounds like Pentagon-speak. Is the entire American business communication structure the incoherent bastard child of Defense contractor wannabes run amok?

  2. Catherine Ramen says:

    Orwell wrote “Politics and the English Language” which dissected this sort of thing over 60 years ago, and then wrote “1984” as a proof of concept–he did the opposite of the precepts in “Politics…” and took them to the extreme.

    About the only change since then is that business writing has taken the lead from politics, which has moved on from dissembling to outright lying.

    But the larger consequences of Orwell’s essay are just as true now.

  3. Tosh says:

    Eugene were you thinking of applying for this job?

    I’d imagine a dude with your flair for the language would relish such an opportunity to reveal the BS to a larger audience while claiming complete corporate fealty.

    could have been a kick but I’m afraid its too late now.

  4. Tosh:

    I did not consider applying for the job. Keep in mind that as a speechwriter I qualify as a courtesan rather than a whore.

    Furthermore, I would never have survived the HR Inquisition. My least hint of wit during an interview would eliminate me. And I am speaking from personal experience.


    Business jargon is intended to defy understanding. Corporate policy must be accepted as a matter of faith. And speaking of religion…


    The art of the unintelligible is far older than the Pentagon. What do you think was the appeal of the Latin Mass? It was the mystery. Since the tenth century, most of the congregants had no idea what was being said; however, it seemed so otherworldly and impressive.

  5. Alan says:

    The new Newspeak is the product of a world-wide IT/business/management/-techocratic class with its own jargon.

    They are all cyber-connected and connected to the media as well, so their version of crap-language (Bob is right: it’s been done before) becomes everyone’s. Their buzzwords acquire metaphorical and popular usages.

    Eugene is right on the mark. I speak from experience. And no one who is aware of their amorality/immorality can ever work for them in good conscience again. At least, I can’t.

    A final job requirement: You will adhere to the groupthink and you will mouth its jargon without question and enthusiatically.

  6. Leah says:

    Bob, I think that part of the blame should go to Madison Avenue-speak at the mid-twentieth century. I believe that the guys who had those jobs– and they were mainly guys– talked in elliptical language amongst themselves for their own amusement, and it got away from them. And, of course, don’t forget lawyers, many of whom spend their time writing thousands of words that can be deconstructed to the “Not it!” you hear when kids are playing hide and seek (do kids still do that? Can you play hide and seek with a computer screen?)

    Not that I’m absolving the Pentagon– I just think there’s plenty of culpability to go around.

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