Sunday, June 30, 2013

At the end of the day, you've given 110 per cent - competition for prose with as many infuriating phrases as possible

Eager to preserve the English language against a rising tide of nonsense, we asked readers to compose a piece of prose crammed with as many infuriating phrases as possible.
Hundreds of readers took a few minutes off from shouting at the television to send an entry to our Infuriating Phrases Competition. The idea was to come up with a paragraph or two, no longer than 150 words, packed with as many infuriating words and phrases as possible.
Judging by the avalanche of phrases shovelled by the spadeful into your inventively annoying prose, many readers must be constantly on the boil at hearing our language mutilated on the radio, television, in shops and cafes, by politicians and pundits, and, perhaps worst of all, by business management executives.
Infuriating as the language was, the entries were very funny. "When it comes to abuse of English, I've been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Do you know what I mean?" Jackie Rowe's entry started, worryingly. "Proactive, self-starting facilitator required to empower cohorts of students and enable them to access the curriculum," said part of an advertisement for a teacher sent by Brian Smith.
"Hi, there," began Janet Thomas's entry, annoyingly, "How are you guys doing? Good, I hope. I totally see where you are coming from. At this moment in time it's not clear what is happening with our language. I'm often like, hello? We are in the UK here?"
"Our profitability is on a downward slope," wrote Peter Seaton, in the authentic voice of unthinking management, "and we must examine all avenues to flush out unnecessary costs. Please go away, sharpen your pencil and have a rethink."
Congratulations to the ten shown here and they each receive a signed copy of She Literally Exploded: The Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook by Christopher Howse and Richard Preston 
Barry Moyse
The Trust are committed to sharing best practice and passionate about facilitating appropriate skills through workshops and learning events around these issues across the piece. Monitoring using a web-based toolkit will empower users to drill down to assess local needs interactively. Stakeholders will be fully engaged in a consultation exercise breaking down barriers, pushing the envelope towards a seamless, one-stop shop service. Safety and value for money will be paramount so we are investing a funding stream to put in place a supportive multidisciplinary team to head up this exciting upcoming project, provide local ownership and robust clinical governance. Doing nothing is not an option: subject to independent review lessons will be learnt, accountability made transparent to commissioners, providers, and service-users to ensure that this tragedy will never happen again.
Mrs J. M. Johnson
To be honest with you, I'm pressurised 24/7. I'm literally in pieces. I surfed the net and sourced a top-dollar lifestyle guru, and he's working with my partner and I, prioritising issues so that we can team up and address them - know what I mean?
There's things that have to go on the back burner, so that we can jet away to the sun and chill to the max. A few drinks, a few laughs and I'll be firing on all cylinders, like I say. She'll shop until she drops - right? - but if that's what the little lady wants, that's what she'll get. We'll soak up the sun, go with the flow, and come back bronzed and fit.
Hopefully, by Christmas, we'll be sorted, and ready to party, party, party big-time - and spend some quality time with the kids, with the turkey and all the trimmings.
Andrew Macintosh and Mary Burdis
"At the end of the day," continued Simon, across a table of Eat's Now!, his favourite nutritional sustenance solutions establishment, "running things up the flagpole is essential to ensuring we are all singing from the same hymn sheet, so that the challenges of the present economic climate are met with emotional intelligence." He looked up to check Michelle was still listening. "Are you taking all this on board?"
"Confirmed."
The nutritional conveyance facilitator arrived.
"Chargrilled chicken, flash-fried vegetable compote and sun-dried tomatoes. Twice."
"Re-hydration, Sir?"
"Evian." Simon turned back to Michelle. "I'd like to run this by you." He pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. "Non-Plus-Ultra Surplus-to-Requirements Collection Solutions requires executive disposal facilitator to supervise own ring-fenced area of operations, apply in first instance blah blah blah. Thought-share?"
"Cutting edge, actually. Literally."
Simon smiled: "I always like to give a 110 per cent."
End of story.
Nick Godfrey
I hear what you're saying but, with all due respect, it's not exactly rocket science. Basically, at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is you have got to be able to tick all the boxes. It's not the end of the world, but, to be perfectly honest with you, when push comes to shove, you don't want to be literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Going forward we need to be singing from the same songsheet but you can't see the wood from the trees. Naturally hindsight is 20/20 vision and you have to take the rough with the smooth before proceeding onwards and upwards. The bottom line is you wear your heart on your sleeve and, when all is said and done, this is all part and parcel of the ongoing bigger picture. C'est la vie (if you know what I mean)...

Also see - Communications from elsewhere - the post modern generator
If one examines neodialectic sublimation, one is faced with a choice: either accept capitalist postdialectic theory or conclude that sexual identity, ironically, has significance. But Bataille uses the term ‘constructivism’ to denote the bridge between class and truth. The subject is contextualised into a capitalist postdialectic theory that includes sexuality as a paradox.The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator. To generate another essay, follow this link

Vagueness: the linguistic virus in spoken language in the late 20th century
I recently watched a television program in which a woman described a baby squirrel that she had found in her yard. “And he was like, you know, ‘Helloooo, what are you looking at?’ and stuff, and I’m like, you know, ‘Can I, like, pick you up?,’ and he goes, like, ‘Brrrp brrrp brrrp,’ and I’m like, you know, ‘Whoa, that is so wow!’ ” She rambled on, speaking in self-quotations, sound effects, and other vocabulary substitutes, punctuating her sentences with facial tics and lateral eye shifts. All the while, however, she never said anything specific about her encounter with the squirrel.

Uh-oh. It was a classic case of Vagueness, the linguistic virus that infected spoken language in the late twentieth century. Squirrel Woman sounded like a high school junior, but she appeared to be in her mid-forties, old enough to have been an early carrier of the contagion. She might even have been a college intern in the days when Vagueness emerged from the shadows of slang and mounted an all-out assault on American English.. In the spring of 1987 came the all-interrogative interview. I asked a candidate where she went to school.

“Columbia?” she replied. Or asked.
“And you’re majoring in . . .”
“English?”

All her answers sounded like questions... 


Papers by Alan Sokal on the "Social Text Affair"

"Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"
The original "parody" article, published in Social Text # 46/47, pp. 217-252 (1996). An annotated version of this article - explaining some of the jokes and providing much additional bibliography - appears as Chapter 1 of my book Beyond the Hoax.