Tuesday, December 1, 2009

If you write as good as you talk, nobody reads you

Simon Hoggart managed to get a laugh out of Camden Council (in London) with this wonderful example of bureaucratic language. If everyone wrote like this, no-one would read books (including me).

Reader John Richardson sends in a magnificent example of jargon, from a report by Camden council, north London, called "Growing Your Library" [sic]. This turns out to mean sacking lots of staff and replacing them with barcode scanners. It includes phrases such as "information plinths" and reads in part: "The People work stream sits alongside service visioning, ICT procurement, spatial strategy, pilot RFID (radio frequency identification), enabled library and communications work streams."

The Good Library Guide has already picked up on this, but I’ll mention it anyway.

Just to be fair, however, when I looked at the PDF the Council offers on ‘Grow Your Library’ (I don’t even like the title: ‘grow your own…’ maybe, or ‘grow your libraries’ perhaps), there’s something about the rhythm or the grammar that just doesn’t work as a slogan for me. [muses] ...Grow your rose, grow your pig, no it doesn’t work for me.


Anyway, I can find no phrasing quite as awful as the bit Mr Hoggart quotes, in the PDF.

We all live with 'noisy library theory' these days...

Oh, and the title for the post is the way I remember Lou Reed dealing with an inarticulate heckler...on Take No Prisoners (read Gadfly for background)

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