Friday, 16 May 2008

On Silliness and Jargon

I've largely abandoned serious writing for the moment, or rather, I've largely abandoned writing seriously. I wouldn't want you to think that I've stopped working at the writing, I'm just trying to be a little funnier, a little stranger. Comedy keeps trying to worm its way into my prose anyway, and so I've finally given in to it. Before, I would plan out these big, serious pieces of writing and then wonder why they seemed so flat half way through. I suspect the reason is that I've been censoring myself as I go, trying to write 'properly' rather than writing the way I write best. Besides, one look at the universe suggests that laughter is the only appropriate response.

That said, I'll probably change my mind again soon enough. I'm nothing if not completely inconsistent.

On a completely different note, I have a real hatred of jargon. Much of it seems utterly meaningless, designed to demonstrate someone's 'expert' status while excluding normal people. Most of the people who overuse it seem to be doing so in place of actually thinking about their topic of choice. A few of my favourite (or rather least favourite) pieces are below, along with the source of the things and some 'definitions'.

Putting the ball in the right areas (cricket) : The bowler hasn't got a clue how to make the thing move, and so has to settle for being proud of being able to bowl straight.

Blue sky thinking (business): something to do with looking out of the window as you work, I think.

Giving 150%: someone didn't do maths at school.

Hotdesking (business): something to do with putting plastic furniture too near the central heating system, probably.

Proactive problem solving (Everywhere): apparently a synonym for being obnoxious to everyone you meet.

Understanding the central metanarrative (history/the humanities): Making up a large portion of the answer in advance.


Andi said...

The great contemporary poet Joel Tan once told me to add humor to my sad stuff - it would make the sad sadder in contrast and it would help my readers make it through the pain of my life (I write CNF), so I understand the desire to add the comedic.
And I hate jargon, too. My least favorite - "let's be sure we're on the same page" - to which I always want to reply, this must be one big page for you and I to both be standing on it. . . is this like one of those giant books that come out at fair and stuff?
Thanks for writing (and visiting my blog).

stu said...

My pleasure, though I've acquired a new least favourite phrase now. Cricket again, and the acumulation of dot balls (balls which aren't scored off and as such are marked with a dot in the scorebook) now seems to produce the phrase 'That's good dotting, that is.' It's enough to make me want to do something really quite violent to the individual involved.