Empty language for executives

Plain English can be useful if one has something to express. But, as an editorial by John Kay in The Financial Express (Bangladesh) points out, there are many situations where it’s necessary to make meaningless statements:

bq. But the worst abuses of the language now come from business people and management gurus. In the last 12 months, books by Don Watson, the Australian writer (Gobbledygook, Atlantic Books), Harry Frankfurt, the Princeton philosopher, (On Bullshit, Princeton University Press) and Lucy Kellaway, my colleague, (Martin Lukes: Who Moved My Blackberry?, Viking) have attempted to dissect this phenomenon.

bq. Lies and spin communicate, but what they communicate is false. The defining characteristic of bullshit is that it does not attempt to communicate at all. Bullshit has the vocabulary and syntax of ordinary language, but not the meaning. And, in fact, the metaphor is not apt. What we describe as bullshit is more like candy floss — when you bite into it, there is nothing there.

Via The Language Legend, where there are further links.

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