We’ve become lazy with language. Cliché and jargon have crept into every aspect of life – and business as much as anywhere. It’s not often I have a rant and go off on one, but I’m going to go off on one now.
Let’s start at the top, or possibly the bottom for some, and Scottish politics. What is this ‘devo max’ and how did it ever get into common use? Devo? We know it’s devolution abbreviated, but for those that don’t it could be short for, well, anything starting with letters d.e.v.
I remember Devo from the 70s, in the era of punk. Devo were just plain odd (boiler-suited with red hats) so that’s not a great association to have. And as for Max – Mad Max or Pepsi Max? Somehow, as a possible compromise in a very serious discussion on the future of Scotland, devo max has crept under the skin of the Scottish psyche like a warble fly on a stag’s back, and it just doesn’t do it for me.
How about ‘gate’? What is this obsession for sticking ‘gate’ on the end of anything that contains any hint of scandal or intrigue. Watergate, fine. That was the first and it should have stopped there. But then we’ve had Monicagate, Camillagate, Nannygate, Flakegate, Bertiegate, Tigergate, Rubygate, even biscuitgate ad nauseam-gate. Talk about a lack of imagination, or creativity.
And who invented that dreadful word ‘staycation’. Ghastly, hybrid nonsense. It’s not clever, it’s naff, it’s, like, let’s find the lowest common denominator and match it with some trite, makey-uppey drivel that trips off the tongue, but makes you want to retch if you stop to think about it. The very word staycation is enough to put me off ever taking a holiday in Scotland in the same way that I would run a mile from anything that looked remotely like dental tourism.
And then there’s the word ‘like’, like I just used in the previous paragraph, twice. Like don’t use it, it’s an aberration, it’s lazy and it stinks.
How about ‘key’? If I hear another presentation where the key word is over-used I’m going to scream – key this, key that. ‘This is our key objective’ or ‘this is absolutely key’. There are far more interesting words in the English language with more than three letters. Key was fashionable once, in the 70s like Devo, when it was hip to be key.
It’s a small metal object that fits in locks. It’s the definition of tonality in music. It’s a host of other things, but most importantly, it’s a noun, not an adjective. Period (I hate that use of the word ‘period’ too when a simple punctuation mark is perfectly adequate)! And I hate the over-use of exclamation marks!!!
Level playing fields, and all the rest of it? Just don’t tempt me.
And as for Devo, Max? Are we not men? We are Devo. No offence, Max.