Category: Bad Language

Connecting to outreach and mutually update

Once a year, dear Lucy Kellaway of the FT, bless her heart, offers scalding remedies for obfuscation and verbiage, the debasement of the language. The fauna of her verbal forest live, unfortunately, in the uplands of business, or else a thin-skinned, orange-haired ‘nasty man’ would surely – surely? – have taken the biscuit – and thrown it, like everything else he touches, into the garbage. Clipped from: Contenders for 2016’s gong ranged from euphemistic to ‘plain moronic’ Every January for the past decade I have handed out awards for horrible use of language in business. Usually the task amuses […]

The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government

Brian Mulroney, former Canadian Prime Minister, has announced the creation of the eponymous $60 million Institute of Government, to be located at his alma mater, St Francis Xavier University – StFX, to the initiated – in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. According to the Globe and Mail’s coverage of the story in Thursday’s newspaper, “Mr Mulroney said the idea for the institute was born more than a decade ago. But after falling seriously ill from an allergy to morphine, the project stalled.” ‘Nuff said. Enjoy.

Retirement Designer?

I had a lecturer once, when I was a first-year Eng.Lit student at the University of Cape Town, who ran an English Language course which was compulsory and therefore not always popular. Yet I have to say that the course marked me more deeply than I could possibly, as a snotty nineteen year-old, have imagined. One of the professor’s pet loathings (help me, someone, I forget his name, but the moment you mention it I’ll say yes! of course! professor so-and-so! though he might have been – dropping a clue here – a senior lecturer and not a full professor) […]

Dazed by Baez

Joan Baez – Koerner Hall again, this time advance publicity for a concert she will give there on February 27th – is, if you believe her hype, or her publicists’, ‘a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable…’ Well, okay, I get that Baez has influenced people, I was there, remember, that’s my generation too, but then (you’ll have to pardon me for such an extensive quote, but that’s part of the point, the fact that the blah goes on and on) we get all this, too – more than a musical force, Baez is pitched to us as […]

Language pales with Sarah Palin

For today’s expose of mangled language, who could do better than this take by the Financial Times on Sarah Palin’s muddled verbosity and scrambled thought-particles – kinda like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, you can never be sure exactly where she is, or where those elusive brain cells and ganglia are – take a look, at via Sarah Palin’s rhetoric soup is tasty fare for US conservatives –

This is the struggle now?

I am sure that Brian Kamanzi – a Cape Town-based Masters student in Electrical Engineering, evidently – is a perfectly nice chap, and means well in wanting to add his voice to the current debate about student fees in South Africa and free higher education. His view or hope or belief or whatever is that, in his words, ‘the undercurrent of the current uprisings call for radical structural adjustment in South Africa towards something that resembles a socialist future.’ Ok, never mind that ‘structural adjustment’ is a term borrowed from the World Bank and IMF, I guess I sort of […]


Heard of ‘lady balls,’ have you? Apparently there are people in the advertising business who’d have you think that ‘lady balls’ is a thing. Running in cinemas near you, at least if you’re in Toronto, is an advocacy campaign about ovarian cancer. Good idea, or so you’d think. Except that the ad is built around a series of lady-jock exclamations – women should have the ‘lady balls’ to do this, the ‘lady balls’ to do that. Who comes up with this stuff? Life is simply too short for bad language. And ‘lady balls’ truly is awful.