Over at Living Jubilee today, I wrote a little bit about Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's book Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies. I think it bears repeating over here as well, because I think this book is important to the "public square" conversation we're always having at Cardus.
One of McEntyre's points is that tired cliches and hyperbole are slowly taking over our public discourse. I immediately thought of the hordes of useless terms we used at my corporate job a few years ago—things that probably were useful a few times, but are so overused as to be ridiculous: synthesize, leverage, circle back, delivery, facilitate, teamwork, rollout, you get the idea. (Some of the best spoofs on this have come from 30 Rock, by the way.)
Overused, vague terms are by no means restricted to the corporate world. But how do we combat them? How do we preserve the meaning (and meaningful-ness) of language?