Of course, being part of academic and church cultures, the first thing I thought when I read this is how suitable it would be for somebody to do an analogous piece on each of those places and their particular brands of groupspeak, but of course, I’m too busy, so who wouldn’t be? But I did have to post this bit about “passion” abstracted from its sexual and Christological contexts:
Even to get a humble job in a call centre passion is required. One of the big banks is currently advertising for such workers saying “we seek passionate banking representatives to uphold our values.” This is a lie. Actually what the bank is seeking is competent people to follow instructions and answer the phones.
I’m three episodes into the final season of The Wire now, and I’m disappointed to say that one of the series’s flattest new characters, the executive editor of the Baltimore Sun and proxy for corporate interests in Chicago, is also one of the funniest because he’s incapable of finishing a scene without busting out one of these vacuous phrases. (His favorite is to tell his reporters to “do less with more.”) His foil is Gus Haynes, a veteran reporter (City Section editor at season’s start) who’s spent his whole career in Baltimore, and who watches, frustrated and powerless, as Scott Templeton, a youngster ambitious to make a big city newspaper, wows the clueless executive editor over by making stuff up to spice up his stories and make them more emotionally compelling.
I’ve been fortunate enough, I suppose, not to have been around an office-speaker, though I’ve heard enough Christianese-speakers that I believe they exist. I know it’s a cliche for English teachers to decry the dishonesty of late-capitalist jargon, but what can I do? Iyam what Iyam.