Burn After Reading

Once I heard that some state officials in Florida have been cautioned against using the words “climate” and “change” right next to each other” in official documents, I felt inspired.

Not by the restriction, but by the way it appears to have been delivered.

Such a written rule would be subject to ridicule of course. But it appears this bit of language and thought control (if it exists), is being carried out as a matter of verbal-only policy making.

This is genius, and also a throwback.

For eons human beings have remembered complex stories and concepts through an oral tradition and the construction of elaborate rhymes. I was intrigued. How could you make it quick and memorable but also put it in a configuration that would enable you to  distribute the “rules” uniformly but without a trace?

I summoned Trail Babboon’s poet laureate, Schuyler Tyler Wyler, and instructed him to create a few lines of verse that would be capable of communicating such a language prohibition to legions of bureaucrats, paper-trail free.

I told him:

  • Verse one must ban the term “climate change”
  • Verse two must outlaw “global warming”
  • Verse three has to prohibit “greenhouse gasses”
  • The fourth verse must end with the word “irony”.

S.T.W. was unimpressed with the subject matter, but for ten dollars he got to work and was back within the hour:

It’s wrong to talk of “Climate Change”.
That phrase is now verboten.
These words, in tandem, don’t arrange.
It upsets them what’s votin’.

And “Global Warming” is taboo.
Because we do not buy it.
For thinking only, you’re free to.
But as for speaking? Quiet!

And likewise,”greenhouse gas” must pass
into the realm unspoken.
This rule must stay invisible
like air on which you’re chokin’.

These verses are not policy.
They’re a device, mnemonic,
to stop the floods. Y’all’ll see.
Effective and ironic!

What words or phrases would you like to ban?

63 thoughts on “Burn After Reading”

  1. You all know how I abhor corporate-speak. Ask me anything you like, we can discuss whatever needs to be discussed, but if you “reach out” to me I shall have to expend more energy than it is worth to resist the temptation to slap that reaching hand away.

    I don’t “network” either. But I am happy to actually meet new and interesting people.


  2. Thank you Tyler for the poem about the phrases banned
    In Florida where climate change is feared throughout the land

    Well Marco Rubio is skeptic and Jeb Bush is unconvinced
    Global warming and climate change are far from being a cinch

    Where alabaster city shine undimmed by human tears
    Don’t talk global warming it causes Floridian fears

    The words I’d ban if I were banning words would be the very word ban
    Try not to think of that word please don’t think of it if you can

    By banning ban I think we’ll find discussion topics open
    But waves may still crash on the shore despite what Floridas hopin

    If banning words and thus discussion makes our lives much better
    In Minnesota winter months we should simply ban the sweater


  3. Awesome remains on the top of my list. Its overuse has caused it to have no meaning. As in: “The temperature reached 67º F yesterday. Awesome!” Makes me want to scream.

    Enhanced interrogation is another term that must go. A euphemism for torture, the whole concept is abominable. Putting a positive spin on it to make it more palatable is unacceptable. Marketing at its worst.

    I’ll not get into all the words that have cropped up as a result of text messaging. I have only a vague idea what most of them mean, but I find them annoying.

    Thanks for arousing my inner grouch first thing this morning, Dale.


  4. i would like to ban the use of words that cause uneasiness
    when passing through wisconsin i hate the feel of cheesiness
    when watching tv now a days bloody carnage leads my queasiness
    and i am morally opposed to all things labeled sleaziness

    if we could just eliminate the thought caused by these stressers,
    the first thought thinking of some folks is not that theyre snappy dressers
    jeb marco rand and walker find not too hidden buried treasures
    and they bow to those opinion polls which put names upon the pressures

    economy is doing good so they cant beat the drum on that
    unemployment nothing there try to find a diferent hat
    john boehner talks of compromise to find new ways to skin that cat
    but it all seems so hopeless those unilateral tires are flat

    when the oceans by 2 foot 3 and some island nations disappear
    manhatten incorporates amsterdam dykes and truth becomes quite clear
    not talking about problems is a sidways way to steer
    instead of paying scientists dismissed as jokes by peers

    youd think theyd see that acting in the interest of mankind
    was a plan worth getting started we’re starting form behind
    but predetermined findings require visionaries who are blind
    and it helps if they put their heads where the sun it never shines

    the other side is grasping as the camels back is breaking
    it just a straw but after all the elusivness and snaking
    erruptions happen as the ground on which thhey stand starts quaking
    suprise surpise they all exclaim in a unison of faking

    banned words that i would like to see rubio christy and mccain
    boehner mcconnell huckabee all give me a pain
    id never be so gald to see an eastbound speeding train
    that took their world and sped away form my midwestern plain

    hillary talked to her phone and sent emails incorrectly
    thsat should keep her form become ext electly
    we need to save the world from stuff we deem to be protectly
    and form our stands past present or furture we try to act deflectly

    look over there and whats that thing im point ing at this week
    the platfom of the gop has an anti obama tweak
    he needs to stop whatever hes doing is the mantra that they squeek
    oklahoma frat house gave us an ugly americana peek

    the words i think id like to ban have most to do with feeling
    disqust headshaking and disbelief has left my mind a reeling
    id find constructive talks aimed at finding results appealing
    but i think ill simply have another cup of my darjeeling

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting. In places like Bangladesh, they want awareness heightened because this immediately affects them.

    Looking at the map, it looks like Florida is doing the opposite so they don’t “scare” people.

    Because watching real estate submerge for no apparent reason, that’s not scary at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The temperature is predicted to be 70 here on Saturday. I wonder what words I should use to express my joyous anticipation of the return of Spring?


  7. Good morning. There are some words used certain ways that I dislike including the phrase “for cute” and “totally” or “like”. Also, I dislike up talking where the tone of voice is raised at the end of a sentence. Like, that’s totally not cool, duh, and not for cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. for cute was a fargo term from the 70’s i thought that was kind of cute to have such a ditzy exclaimation coming out of the mouth of otherwise reasonable people made them seem childlike or something long those lines
      i had a daughter uwho used like as the thinking pause phrase for a year or two and man would she get mad when i parroted like bck to her ever every every time she said it. she finally got over it but it was like real real like hard

      Liked by 1 person

  8. War on Christmas. War on This. War on That.
    “In debating social policy through the language of war, we often forget the moral reality of war.” James Childress.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I gag when journalists prove they are cool by using the trendiest new words. That means I gag often. A word that currently inflames my disgust is “presser,” as if “press conference” is unacceptably long. People call things “awesome” so often I don’t really hear it (although I automatically lose respect for anyone who uses the word that way).

    I have grim news for younger baboons (and I think every baboon is younger than I): The longer you live, the more disgusted you become about pretentious and sloppy use of language.


    1. Well, that is awesome news, Steve. I know several people who think I’m already too uptight about sloppy use of language. Now I can tell them they ain’t seen nothing yet.


  10. Greetings! I just read an article about McDonald’s falling earnings here http://www.naturalnews.com/048973_McDonalds_global_profits_food_transparency.html and they quoted a piece …

    One paragraph explains, in classic Dilbert speak, that McDonald’s “…will work within each area of the world with stakeholders, including suppliers, industry partners, government agencies, NGOs, veterinary and university extension networks, and other retailers to gain alignment on expectations and developing timelines for implementation and verification criteria that would reduce the use of medically-important antimicrobials in food animals.”

    Basically, they’re trying to regain lost sales by “attempting” to take out a few of the toxic chemicals in their foods. That sentence is the most meaningless mangle of corporate-speak I’ve seen in a while.

    All those texting abbreviations should definitely be banned.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. coke is losing money or at least only making half a jillion instead of the whole jillion. my hesalthy soda idea is ripe for the times.
      now who wants to partenr on the healthy soda biz?
      i have the plan all laid out just need arms and legs and 200 hours a week


  11. “You should be ashamed of yourself” is #1. Then comes: diss; LOL; OMG, “How are you?” because they don’t really give a damn and l’m forced to say it back; real la tor rather than realtor; “At the sound of the tone etc etc etc”. How is it that this prompt infested every phone in the country?? Whose idea was this? Why can’t anyone opt out of it so we can simply leave a voice mail immediately?

    I probably annoy all of the right wingnuts on the opinion boards by repeatedly using relentless,whatsoever, ignorant, delusional, rethugs or pugs, Get Obama Party, projection, regressives, stunning (goes with ignorant), and a whole host of other such denigrations.

    I’m grouchy today if you can’t tell

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Ectopic post. Should be under “your call is important to us.”

          Just this morning I had to call the Pioneer Press. Our daily newspaper was nowhere to be found by 8 AM. Our current delivery person seems to think that anywhere on the sidewalk, boulevard, or front yard is close enough, so the daily retrieval of the paper is like an Easter egg hunt. But this morning there was no paper, so I called to register a complaint.

          After going through the usual 15 prompts I got confirmation that my complaint had been registered and that they were aware of a problem with delivery in my area. This gave me the additional option – which you don’t normally get – to press 0 to talk with a representative. I pressed “0” and got the message that all of their reps where busy assisting other customers with the additional information that anticipated waiting time was more than 10 minutes! That’s how important our calls to the Pioneer Press are.


  12. Sorry if you’ve heard this before, but “while”, as in “She’ll text that message while she drives to work.” or “I think I’ll read while while I walk in the woods.” Just think, multi-tasking would be a thing of the past if the world while didn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rachel and all her friends at “card services” can also retire any day now.

    Maybe they can make the acquaintence of all those people who start the interaction with “this is not a sales call”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whenever we get a call from Rachel at card services, it appears on our caller ID as a call from husband and our home phone number! How the heck do they do that?


    1. Reminds me of the thirty-something man who sometimes cuts my hair. He keeps addressing me as “young lady” which drives me nuts. I’m old enough to be his grandmother, for crying out loud. I’ve told him I don’t appreciate it, but he’s on auto pilot; that’s apparently how he addresses all of his female customers, and I’m sure he means it as a form of flattery.


  14. If you have 15 minutes and love George Carlin, get that second cup of coffee or tea and enjoy.

    I’d start with any of these phrases (thanks, George Carlin):

    and finish with these:

    Chris in Owatonna (actually Green Valley, AZ this weekend), and hoping the links work.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I’m “that Chris” 🙂 Just visiting GV. My dad, step-mother, uncle, aunt and a cousin and his wife all live here. Not planning on moving here for retirement yet, but it’s pretty darn decent compared to other retirement destinations I’ve seen or heard about.

          C in O-town


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.