Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Impact on my Mind

Whenever I hear someone talking-head-like say that something impacts something else, as I just this moment did on The Diane Rehm Show (it happens on public radio a lot), I recall a Designing Women moment when Julia is frustrated by a woman and says that woman is "such a--yuppie!" and Charlene says "Julia, you hate that word!" and Julia says she knows but how else could you describe someone who "uses impact as a verb"?!

I have continued to laugh/marvel/shake a fist at various yuppified verbings of words that make their way into our world in an irritating way (unlike fun verbings that have whimsy or poetry to them), with "partner" being a particularly irksome one. That was one Borders consistently tried to use to save its dying self; as a merchandising supervisor and corporate trainer I was always being asked to "partner" with this or that other department, and it was pretty terrible. (I don't think I even need to remind you all here that Google is not a verb. You can, however, perform a search using Google. While the registered trademark may sadly become accepted rather than just wrongly used as a generic one day, like aspirin or Kleenex, that's no reason for you to verb it. I will also slap you if you slip up when photocopying and use Xerox as a verb.)

Beyond impact-ing and partner-ing, there's also the need to think outside the box while focusing on outcomes during our teamwork and other best practices. Corporate jargon, as someone (Noam Chomsky?) has pointed out, has really become the Orwellian double-speak of our day, rather than military or government overlord speak (except for the massive extent to which corporate jargon permeates said military, because military-industrial complex), and we have all accepted it and happily brought it into our daily self-helping conversations.

But the point is: impact. WWJD (what would Julia [Sugarbaker] do?) in the face of the internet barrage of selfies and tweets and Upworthy and  everything else? I miss her. If you aren't intimately acquainted with the antics of the ladies (+ Anthony) of the Sugarbaker design firm, you have missed out. Think about the discussion they could have about the way people constantly post pictures of what they ate for dinner. I suspect Charlene would be the one to snap a pic of her meal, or maybe Suzanne would do it, going crazy with some bewildering app on her phone, and Mary Jo would fret about Claudia and her friends judging the adults' cooking by posting it on Facebook, and Julia would find it all so tacky... I long for a TV sitcom with the cheerful-yet-substantial, scathing-but-not-petulant, intelligent, political, personal, ferocious, beautiful brilliance of Designing Women to address these 21st-century issues. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

linda said...

Come back to us soon, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason!