the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

9/04/2005

Trite & Tired

OH, SPEAKING OF 'high falutin'...

Ever thought how business speech and business writing are sometimes little more than high falutin' talk, filled with pretentious, overused images and puff phrases?

As soon as an authoritative author or a pontificating pundit unveils a clever new verbal invention, it's blasted around the world on the 24-hour news cycle, and everyone scrambles to be the first to use it in email or a meeting… like erm… ‘
pushing the envelope

Here are a few that once were clever and colorful, but now (I find) to be quite trite and tired…

on our radar screen
means "in our awareness". With a little imagination, it can transcend right into our zen-like stream of consciousness.... Very clever-sounding, eh?

on the ground
Desperately trying to remain vital, this one is transforming itself into "boots on the ground." It's probably military in origin — a flyer's or paratrooper's term. Ditto ‘bite the bullet” and “roll with the punches”, hopeful phrases used to magically confer the subject with an aura of stoicism if not actual courage, but in reality really reflect an absolutely hopeless and helpless state.

ahead of the curve, behind the curve
The 'power curve' describes the relationship between drag, airspeed and vertical speed for an aircraft. In business, the 'ahead' form means advanced or innovative, while the 'behind' form means "in too deep to ever dig out." Originally, using this image meant you were a pilot, which carried status. No longer.

Pursuant to
And with all due respect, while I don’t question the occasional (and human) need to sound self important, this very officious phrase, (sighted recently, rather interestingly, in a blog) - unless you’re pretending to be a corporate lawyer - sounds, really, quite pompous.

:O... waittaminit...

with all due respect
Probably popularized in modern times by Perry Mason or those characters on C-SPAN, this one is a real oldie. See, the patriotism entry in The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce.

And, that said, having said that
We used to say 'but'. Nowadays we seem to need more syllables.

And… at the end of the day, bottom line
If there is any beauty in the economy of words, how about saying 'finally'? 'Bottom line' comes from accounting and finance, and used to be cute. Used to be.

Got any to share?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Spot said...

heehee...i tend to use "pursuant to"...i blame my corporate law background!

"think outside the box" is now almost synonym for creative, when it actually means "unconventional". it's not even grammatically correct.

"whereby" - people keep using this completely wrongly! it's NOT interchangeable with "where"!!!

"stepping up to the plate" - commonly used to indicate a sense of self-sacrifice, bravery etc. but in baseball (from which this phrase originates), it just means that it's your turn, as a matter of course.

grrrr

10:06 AM  
Blogger percolator said...

Ah so! You are one legit, certified pompous spot, no doubt about it Heh! Heh!

"think outside the box" - there's another not-so-common variant. Get this: BLUE SKY THINKING. Context: Let's start with a blank sheet of paper, do some blue sky thinking and see what happens. This, at least is less pretentious, less artful. I find it usually means 'let's muck, muddle and flounder about abit and see what happens" lol!

"stepping up to the plate" - Hee hee... I'm jsut fresh from reading this in a PPS blog.

- another cliche... brainstorm - aka brain dump
- fancy ways of saying 'I know what's happening' -- in the loop, up to speed

'Cutting edge': in techy context usually just means 'most recent version'... slightly less bugs, instead of something spectacularly breakthrough, as most people expect... a sucky cop-out, this.

'turnkey': this one is really funny. Context: I'm striving for that illusive thing - the turnkey solution (a solution that really opens doors) hence turn key.

Admittedly, I'm not exactly immune to cliches myself. Being a Michael Porter (Competitive Strategy and Five Forces Model fame) devotee, I am especially partial to:

core competencies.. first mover, late mover advantage... sustainable advantage ...imitable competitive advantage... etc

2:37 PM  
Blogger thquah said...

Hai yoh your writes are more cheem have to do a few read before can visualize,lol.

"nick" in the game of squash ... it's a winner,a sure point.It's when the squash ball hit the edges of the floor and the wall and just roll over.A shot that is hard to retrieve for the opponent.

"out of the box"..........don't think straight.think of what others have not done before.Sometimes out of the box made you cannot think.lol

5:18 PM  
Blogger ambiguous wanderer said...

Can't think of any at the moment. I use high-falutin phrases occasionally. Usually when I stumble across one that I like and I try incorporating it in my writing.

4:45 PM  

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