EDITORIAL: Mumbo Jumbo

Are some people trying to justify their education with this kind of talk?

e suppose there are times and places for bureaucratic, nonsensical language, but we are hard-pressed to think of them.

Decades ago, journalism professors and instructors advised us to write to a Grade 5 level. Thankfully, for all involved, that has changed, although you could argue it hasn’t in some publications (not the one you are holding, of course).

There are people, mainly in government-funded jobs it seems, who feel the need to speak in a language that annoys more than communicates, talks down to people. Perhaps they are trying to justify the money they spent on their education, or perhaps they just don’t get it.

Our office is full of degrees and diplomas. But it’s our job to communicate. It’s too bad some in positions of real influence don’t put effective communication high on their list of priorities.

It’s not quite this mantra we are espousing, but it’s close: don’t use a $10 word when a $1 word will do.

Call it double-speak, or bureaucrat-eze, or whatever you like. It’s rampant in society and it hinders the effective communication of important messages. We have heard a lot of these words and phrases lately in our region from various speakers. Here’s a sample:

“We are going to mobilize that information” — seriously? Is that what our valued drivers and carriers do every Tuesday and Thursday?

“Health-care navigators” — huh?

“Communities we are nested in” — ah, come on.

“Social inclusion” — perhaps what this writer will not enjoy in certain circles after this is published?

“Let’s touch base” — um, why don’t you just call or e-mail instead?

“Creative partnerships creating synergies” — to quote a teenager, whatever.

While we are admittedly having some fun with this today, there may be a serious side to this discussion. If important messages are not getting to the people for which they are intended, then the people whose salaries are paid by the taxpayer are not performing their jobs effectively.

We sure hope we have mobilized this information today in a manner that creates the appropriate synergies in the communities we are nested.

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