A long time ago, when I was in school, I had this friend who used to write poetry. She didn’t write ordinary poems which were consumable by ordinary uneducated plebeians such as self. Rather, had a penchant for liberally using words like ‘opalescence’ and the ‘iridescence’. One day I decided I would also attempt a poem like that. So I randomly looked at the dictionary for words which I couldn’t pronounce and strung them together with arbitrary breaks and shared this ‘poem’ with her. She thought it was exceedingly profound and intense.
Now, why am I sharing prehistoric stories of my childhood? Well, because for the last two days I have been wading through a proposal submitted by our so called Business Intelligence Strategic Partner (Even their NAME is in Jargonese for God’s sake) which I suspect has been put together much the same way.
Just to give an example, ONE sentence yesterday included the following words - syntactic, lexical, pragmatic, semantic and prototypical - all jostling each other in a haphazard manner, purportedly trying to convey some information to the reader. They even had a little graph with arrows going in various directions proclaiming coyly whether they were syntactic or semantic.
In the normal course of events – a document like this would have resulted in me, tying myself into knots, wondering whether this was some divine retribution for catnapping/daydreaming in the briefing meetings. I would assume that this document made complete lucid sense to all the other readers, and would be left with this uneasy, sinking feeling (akin to what Rip Van Winkle must have felt on waking up) that something significant had changed, without having a clue of what it was.
This time however I am seething with self-righteousness indignation .This is one of those rare times when I KNOW what the inputs were –well, because I briefed them myself. It is rather difficult to fall asleep when you are talking – not impossible, I know many good men and women who have mastered this art (not to be confused with those who put their listeners to sleep), but it is rather difficult.
And this discipline and restraint had paid off – for a change I know what the output we were expecting is. I’m not saying it’s is not there – it might be lying gasping for breath under the weight of all those ‘lexical’ words –however I am damned if I can find it. I have carefully waded through a document which, for all practical purposes is in a foreign language, and no luck.
I have tried to upwardly delegate it to my boss. Donned my best earnest-worker face and asked him whether he had read it and woefully told him I needed his wise guidance to understand something. Boss opened the document, read one paragraph, gave one strangled croak and has been playing Zuma Deluxe and avoiding me ever since .
Actually come to think of it, I can’t totally blame the BISP blokes altogether. My company seems to suffer from an argot (thought should use a dictionaried word to emphasize how contagious it is!) epidemic of mammoth proportions – so maybe they are just pandering to the client. Almost every meeting I have attended here, there are this bunch of senior gentlemen, whose only focus in meetings seems to be to out-bombast each other
I’m sorely tempted to play Buzzword Bingo and often longingly think of how the Queen of Hearts would have played it ( “Off with their heads” every time 'usability engineering process modelling' is mentioned ).
Reminds me of this wise saying from my advertising days – “If you can’t CONVINCE, CONFUSE!”
Coming back to bite me. Sigh.