Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fine article on weasel words and gibberish

With thanks to Barry Williams, skeptic extraordinaire, who drew my attention to this article by John Leo (excerpt below).

In plain English, what does it mean when students “achieve a deficiency” or reach a “suboptimal outcome?” It means they failed. A suboptimal outcome is even worse at a hospital. It means the patient died. The airline industry sometimes speaks of a hull loss. What they mean is that one of their planes just crashed. Here’s more twisted language. Your doorman is now known as an “access controller”, and a receptionist is a “director of first impressions.” Hospital bills can be filled with such language, How about a “thermal therapy unit” (an ice bag) or a “disposable mucus recovery unit”, also known as a box of Kleenex.