Just finished reading an eclectic, creative book from the Bloombury Literary Studies “Object Lessons” series by colleague John Garrison about Glass. I always enjoy reading things written by individuals who write better than I, see things which I don’t, and who alter my myopic perspective.
John’s “object lesson” for some reason triggered my thinking again about (over) use of platitudes in higher education such as “transparency,” “engagement”, “empowerment,” and “moving forward.” I have ranted about this before in the context of my perceptions about over zealous “branding.” Maybe my hypersensitivity (?) to these issues is caused by the joy of knowing people like John and poet BJ Best who remind me of the beauty of language. Maybe I just am in need of the forthcoming Thanksgiving family celebration.
George Orwell fascinates me on a number of accounts—his mastery of language, his prescience, and his outlook about politics. While I was faculty president, I gave copies of his book to people as a reminder of the chilling threats and effects of totalitarianism and the dangers of doublespeak. Lewis Carroll, though more playful, also is masterful with language and with alerting us to the the dangers of when illogic becomes the norm and when language is misused and abused. I find my institution’s decisions a few year’s ago to redefine the word “department” in our Carroll argot and the changing of our name from “college” to “university” Humpty-Dumpty-like. And the “buzzwords” and evolving (sometime assaulting) lexicons creeping into our everyday discourse are painfully annoying, hinder communication and add many shades of gray to my beard. I am abuzz with buzzwords
Gotta buzz the dog outside before buzzing a friend to see if he wants to play buzzword bingo tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll buzz over to Melibee to read some of their wonderful posts about global issues and making the world a better place.