In the immediately previous post in this series, I proposed a cautionary statement by which we might attempt to find — if not to re-establish respect for and insistence on — meaning and substance in written communication. (All but the most hearty and quixotic among us have given up on attempts to impose meaning and substance on speech, particularly in the worlds of business and politics). The statement was this: “Never believe anything that makes no earthly sense.”
I was actually naïve enough to think we were out of the woods there for a little while. Then I came across this company description:
We empower you with impressive visualization and innovative collaboration solutions to help you make meaningful connections … We help you achieve your goals, whether it’s protecting the health and safety of millions, creating magical moments, or supporting people to work smarter together. We help you get the most out of what you do every day. So together, we create brighter outcomes, around the world.
Unless you happen to be holding a conch shell to your ear, that rushing sound you hear isn’t the ocean. It’s either the muffled static of synapses short-circuiting as you try to comprehend that gibberish or the whooshing of the wind through the ears of the chooch who wrote it.
A Simple Test
In the last post, I undertook a cryptographic study of the offending phrase at issue therein. The company description in this post requires much less work. Setting aside a word-by-word explication of that vapid flapdoodle, it only need be subject to a short set of simple questions:
- Have you ever attempted to protect the health and safety of millions? Presuming the addled scribe who authored that pernicious balderdash is referring to millions of people, this is not a rhetorical query. I’ve tried it. Trust me when I tell you it’s a lot harder than you might think.
- How many magical moments have you ever tried to create? My guess is they’ve caused you a considerable amount of consternation, even if you’re not married.
- Have you ever tried to compel people, even just two of them, to work smarter together? If so, you know the odds are stacked against you, even if one of them is not the imbecile who wrote the moronic drivel above.
There Is Hope
If you read the insipid hogwash above, thought it might actually mean something, but still experienced a nagging skepticism, you can get help with your critical, probative comprehension and elucidation skills by calling 1-800-READ-NOW. If you read that pointless poppycock and (A) found it to be profound or (B) didn’t feel queasy or otherwise infirm — and if you’re a native speaker of English — you can find a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) by calling 1-800-EFL-HELP.
Either way, you can’t for a second purport to know what the company that published that senseless blather does or how it produces its allegedly brighter outcomes. (Brighter than what?)
Illiteracy and lack of education are fixable. Acceptance of unintelligibility and willing oneself to remain ignorant are not.