The Gulf Oil Spill Meets the Newspeak Dictionary

Dalrymple has a new Pajamas Media piece on government opportunism in the Gulf Oil spill, and you know at the very opening that you are in for real fun:
No crisis should ever be allowed to slip by without calls for greater public expenditure of doubtful worth, and the Gulf oil spill crisis is no exception to this golden rule of bureaucratic opportunism.
In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine for 11 August, titled “Moving Mental Health into the Disaster-Preparedness Spotlight,” Drs Yun, Lurie and Hughes (the latter a lawyer, it seems) write: [‘]Surveillance systems for mental health and substance abuse must be strengthened through broader intellectual investment in a conceptual framework and technical requirements.[‘]
Long experience of bureaucracies has taught me to mistrust language such as this. There is a lot of connotation in it without much denotation: intellectual investments, conceptual frameworks and technical requirements escape from verbiage generators like oil from defective wells, and end up being even more expensive. Personally I am not sure that technical investments, intellectual frameworks and conceptual requirements would not be at least as good, if not better.

3 thoughts on “The Gulf Oil Spill Meets the Newspeak Dictionary

  1. Gavin

    It’s always enjoyable to see meaningless jargon exposed for what it is like this. I rejoice in the fact that every day I must be missing millions of meetings in which such absurdities are uttered!

  2. Steve

    Yes, you should be grateful, Gavin. I suffer through meetings like that every week. I see people move up the corporate hierarchy mostly for their willingness to use words like deliverables, leveraging, space (instead of market) and competencies. Newspeak truly is the right word, for it reeks of 1984.

  3. Gavin

    Yes, I find it stomach turning and infuriating. I can’t even stand people saying “I’m good” and now even “I’m great!” instead of what used to be “I’m very well, thank you”. That is starting to really annoy me. Thank goodness I’m freelance!


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