Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language
When was the last time you heard a politician use words that rang with truth and meaning? Do your eyes glaze over when you read a letter from your bank or insurance company addressing you as a valued customer? Does your mind shut down when your employer sta...more
This was given to me because I love words. I’ve been immersed in so much bureaucratese over the last 20 years that I felt as if this was directed personally at me. Not for perpetrating the assault on good language myself but maybe for perpetuating it. I’ve contributed to enough policies and procedures to choke a horse. There ya go—two examples, one of corporate speak (P&P) and a cliché. Easy, isn’t it?
This was written during the end of John Howard’s prime ministership, and there are many r ...more
Like anyone interested in language I hate the corporatisation of English that has been going on for well over a century now. I work in an industry where people actually say they seek 'closure' without a hint of embarrassment - and I've learnt that one can only feel sorry for them fo ...more
For a while.
The problem is this: every page in the book says about the same thing as every other. There's no structure, no organization. Just a steady stream of lambasting the mundane babble of corporations, governments, schools, news, nonprofits. And while he does a damn good job of that, he also needs ...more
But I did discover that I really need to clean up my language. I've fallen prey to exactly what this book is about.
Mainly, that in our world, it seems like it's:
"...better to speak in buzzwords and cliches because there can be no argument with words that have no meaning at their core."
I really enjoyed this book - Watson has a great writing style, and I found it pretty ...more
I enjoyed the few examples where specific sentences were reworked and there were valid points made the dangers of management-speak and its creep toward ubiquity but the lac ...more
Amply studded with dire examples of corporate speak and inspiring quotes, his argument gets off to a cliché-free flying start. And he of ...more
Death Sentence oscillates between a lament for the declension of the English language, and a rallying call to arrest, even reverse, its decay. Watson's concerns are deeper than the pure love of language. He asserts that language forms the basis of thought, polity, power, and the human experience - and when language suffers, so too do these things.
It is a kind of Southern Hemisphere spiritual descendent of Orwell's "Politics and the English Language", and i ...more
Are you sick of the idiocy that seems to be inherent in mission statements? Have you ever attempted to read a book of laws—the rules by which we are all supposed to live in this country—and given up in utter frustration at your inability to understand any word other than “the”? Do you wonder why no one's said anything original in a TV commercial in decades (assuming you don't ...more
"I went into a mode of self-preservation." -- Footballer, Fox Footy Channel
A quick, easy read, "Dea ...more
It is funny how some books are like that.
* "...consultants, many of them downsized from useful vocations, are the plague of rates of the language virus." p. xxiii
Well written though.