Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pseudo-Intellectual Business

I’ve just discovered a link between two things I love to rant about. Actually I’m kicking myself for not spotting it before. The more I think about it, the more obvious it is.

The link I have made is this: People who use Business Bullshit are in fact a breed of pseudo-intellectual.

Regular readers will know that I love to bait pseudo-intellectuals and expose them for what they are – bullshit merchants who know several big words and like to quote philosophy in order to make themselves  appear better than everybody else. The truth is, of course, that they blind people with their vocabulary because ultimately they don’t actually say anything that makes any sense.

My favourite pseudo-intellectuals are people who stand in front of vomit stains in contemporary art museums and try to impress upon anybody who is willing to lend an ear that the piece of shit in front of them is something more than the shallow mess it actually is.

Another breed is the hipster who dresses like a nerd just to be different and “writes random poetry to express himself”, poetry that is truly awful and meaningless, I hasten to add.

It’s no real leap of logic to discover that a new breed of pseudo-intellectual lives in the upper echelons of high management and bombards his staff with weird business argon that nobody understands, and that his peers pretend to understand.

I am disappointed with myself because this type of pseudo-intellectual has been with me my entire working life. I have found myself in meetings with people from various companies, all trying to impress upon everybody else how important and intelligent they are,  while speaking utter jibberish to bamboozle us all.

In their eyes, their peers are thinking “Wow! This guy really knows what he is talking about. We must do business with him.”

The truth is rather sad. People actually think “What in the name of all that is Holy is this ballbag talking about? It makes no bloody sense.”

Such verbal diarrhoea is responsible for many a rant from yours truly but, more importantly, inspired Scott Adams, then a disgruntled employee, to create the now massively famous Dilbert cartoon series.

At this point, I have to add that some of my work colleagues have said in the past that I bear a striking resemblance to Dilbert – judge for yourself.

Plastic Mancunian

I have never met Scott Adams so their theory is nonsense.

Anyway, here are a couple of typical Dilbert cartoons that illustrate the point.

The idea of setting up a buzzword bingo card has appealed to me for years but the problem is that business bullshit is an evolving beast with new terms popping out of the bull with alarming frequency.  This means that lowly employees like me would have to keep on top of these new terms and this is a full time job that I don’t have time to pursue.

Here are a few new ones:

“I want to jump on your radar!”

“Thought leaders”

“Idea sherpa”

“Punch a puppy”

“Thought shower”

These are terms that make me want to cringe with embarrassment.

Many years ago, there was a comedy show called Drop the Dead Donkey in the UK that had a character called Gus Hedges who basically used bullshit to communicate with his staff. Some of the terms he used were laughable – and now over 20 years later, the terms he used actually sound more believable.

Here are some of his best lines:

“We've got to downsize our sloppiness overload, Joy. Am I making myself clear?”

“There is just something I'd like to pop into your percolator, see if it comes out brown.”

“I'm setting you free. Free to roam the high seas of enterprise as the buccaneers of our broadcasting future.”

“I'm in major cellular rejuvenation mode, fast-tracking my way to eternal biological viability.”

“I think we have a slight togetherness shortfall here.”

“You see, when it comes to sexual interfacing with the female gender group, I've always been caution-orientated due to ongoing problems of an adaptive nature regarding the gooiness factor on the physical front.”

“Jill, could you come for a brief scuba in my think tank?”

“We're merely running our bulletins through the cappuccino machine of innovation, see if it comes out frothy.”

“Just a thought I wanted to pop into your fishbowl to see if it blows bubbles.”

“Problems are just the pregnant mothers of solutions.”

The good thing about Gus Hedges is that he is totally fictional. Sadly, there thousands upon  thousands of pseudo-intellectual managers who seem to have adopted him as a role model. Some pseudo–intellectuals like to quote philosophers; other like to quote Gus Hedges.

To conclude, I found a business bullshit generator that may act as inspiration for any pseudo-intellectuals desperate to climb the corporate ladder with no talent other than their use of meaningless vocabulary.

Here’s a couple I generated:

Synergistically streamline enterprise-wide collaboration and idea-sharing

Compellingly envisioneer standardized "outside the box" thinking

Uniquely reinvent sticky vortals

Have a go yourself – follow this link.


River said...

Before I even start trying to think of something so supremely stupid, I need to downsize my own sloppiness overload. Maybe I'll start tomorrow.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Me too.