RE: Language of appeasement (was: It did happen on a Friday...

Subject: RE: Language of appeasement (was: It did happen on a Friday...
From: Mailing List <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:43:42 -0500

> From: Goldstein, Dan [mailto:DGoldstein -at- DeusTech -dot- com]

> >
> > The other night I landed on the last five minutes of the
> > animated TV series "King of the Hill", in which the main
> > protagonist dealing with just this sort of thing...
> >
> > ... I hope the point is made.
> >
> > /kevin
> Hi Kevin,
> That depends. If the point is that TV cartoons don't reflect
> the typical
> technical writing environment, then yes, you've made it very well.

Hmm. I'm at a loss. I thought it was an indication that:

a) it's a real problem

b) it's widely enough recognized that a prime-time TV
show would devote an episode to it and expect people
to recognize what it was about.

So, assuming that you weren't just scoring some points
(and ha ha ha we move on), then you actually didn't
comprehend the point I was making.
Since you seem reasonably well written (i.e., not dull,
even among the august company of this list) then there
may be others with whom I also failed to communicate.
That says bad things for my choice of profession. :-)

All I really wish to get across is that we should choose
terms that work and that are generally recognized by the
audience we are addressing, and we should resist bad
choices that others wish to impose upon our writing,
unless resisting those bad choices will affect our
We should not make ourselves part of the problem by
catering to small minds. The language *is* worth
defending. Well-educated, capable writers *do* have
some responsibility to maintain standards.

If my bosses began making unreasonable demands about
the language I was using, I would be sure to get the
new requirements and their justifications in writing,
and save all the e-mails. Later, when I was shopping
for new employment, I'd have the record to justify why
my portfolio items reflected odd or un-handy phrasing.

I have literally been in a position of being asked to
remove the word "rear" from documents, because some
so-called technical writers (and others whom they managed
to influence) couldn't see anything but "arse" in that word.
Presumably, these people burst into uncontrollable fits
of laughter when confronted with signs saying "Parking
at the rear of the building", "Trades use rear entrance"
and such.

/kevin (huffy in Ottawa :-)

"His huff arrived, and he departed in it."

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