Words and language

The Haught blog is a purveyor of fine sarcasm, a dispensary of pedantic medicine and a release valve for a mid-thirties curmudgeon’s seething fury.

Much of that anger comes from the way words and language are obscenely defiled by people who should no better in the 21st century.

This is the place to be if don’t care for strategic and synergised alignments that optimise the scalability of an application…

… going forward.

How good words turn bad

The items that we now categorise as weasel words, wank language and corporate buzzwords weren’t always the indefensible, indecipherable brain-slop of desk-shackled keyboard tappers. Almost every single one began as a word or term that didn’t make you want to chainsaw it alive and throw its corpse into an abandoned quarry. Read the post...

"How's working at McDonald's going for you?"

“So what do you do for a living, Johnson?” “Uh… it's Jonathan... I’m a… well, a writer.” “A writer? You write books? Novels?” “No, no, no. No. Definitely not. "No." "But I do write a little thing… a little columny thing… in the paper.” Read the post...

The Haught guide to "deep dives"

I’m all for metaphors. If variety is the spice of life then metaphors are the smoked paprika of language. I just made a metaphor out of a metaphor; that’s how highly I regard them. But my veneration for the figurative extends only so far. Like so many things sucked into the corporate vortex, metaphors become […] Read the post...

The Haught guide to bringing stuff to life

I went into the [Smorgy's] cellar to look for the propane torch we sometimes used to keep at bay the warthogs that accumulated around the restaurant's perimeter after midnight. Read the post...

How to become a thought leader

My new year resolution was to become a thought leader. I’ve already achieved it. I got my accreditation from the Society for the Promotion of Integrated Thought Leadership in the mail yesterday. How? That’s a very good question and, as a thought leader, it is my solemn duty to answer as condescendingly as possible. There are […] Read the post...

What is content?

"Content" is one of those words that gained popularity so quickly, people fell over themselves, and the bodies of others - some dead from suffocation and trampling - to start using it. They believed there was no time to stop and consider what it truly meant or in what context it should be used - they just went for it, hard and fast like two lab rats in a sex hormone experiment. Read the post...

The Haught guide to inadvertent plagiarism

I had one of those abject moments of deflation last year. You know the ones: they came just after you realise a piece of your work – or the concept behind it – which you’d considered original in the most pristine sense, has been done before? OK, to be fair “in the most pristine sense” […] Read the post...

The Haught guide to "downsizing"

One day, in the not too distant future people will be coming home from work telling their partners “Love - I was permanently de-salaried today because the company’s optimaligning has led to my role being seajourneyed.” Read the post...

The Voice: a conversation

“A seal? One of the judges is a marine mammal? I’m definitely watching the show now. Why haven't you told me about this show before?” Read the post...

The Haught guide to "driving"

If you’re reading this having set out with me on the Haught journey right back at the start – the very first post – thank you. You’ll no doubt remember that I long ago compared modern journeys to the wonderful (although admittedly futile) adventures that took place in the 1970s Japanese TV series, Monkey. (I think of […] Read the post...

The Haught guide to the word "strategic"

In this ultra-cynical age, the word ‘panacea’ has been splashed with negative connotations. The 21st century has no time for the idea of utopia, and there is, admittedly, something slightly utopian about a remedy for everything in the universe ever. For that reason ‘panacea’ is a word – not unlike ‘alchemy’ and ‘Vodafone’ – that […] Read the post...

The Haught guide to new year cliches

Is there anything worse than new year work cliches? Yes – many things – among them child labour, Kyle Sandilands and nearly every jellyfish species. But nothing makes you feel more like a minuscule, barely-required cog in the clockwork of capitalism than being congratulated for spending Christmas “recharging the batteries”. Even worse is the language […] Read the post...

A few good words

Linguists recently identified around 20 words still doing the rounds today that were being uttered as many as 15,000 years ago. They included 'spit', 'worm' and 'mother'. 'Learnings', 'empowerment' and ‘monetise’ weren't on the list. But these are such sturdy, evocative and indispensible words that I have no doubt they'll be around 15 millenia hence. This got me thinking about what words not yet in the dictionary THAT I hope will be getting verbally lobbed across offices and work sites thousands of years from now. Read the post...

My email to Microsoft

"What your detractors, and the broader population, don't understand is that people like you (and me) are the First Estate of the 21st century. Like the clergymen before us, we will speak and write in whatever language we choose, and if members of the lower castes can't understand it, so be it." Read the post...

The worst conference ever

The first speaker of the day called himself an inspiration vocaliser and assured everyone present that the secret to work life happiness was getting your job title right. He then slid down from the stage on an inflatable ramp he called the Dream Realisation Embankment and began asking people to say their job titles into his “Psych-rophone”, which was just a giant peach-coloured microphone. Read the post...

How to write a mission statement

Today, the corporation fills the societal role once taken by knights and other masked crusaders. Primarily, it exists to undertake acts of great altruism, selflessness and civic good, so it's guided not by an "objective", but a "mission". If you're granted the great privilege of crafting this superheroic manifesto, don't waver: your mandate to be bold and colourful is contained in the document's very name: mission statement. If they didn't want it to be breathtakingly inspiring, they would have called it an "aim summary" or a "goal list". Read the post...

The Haught guide to "journeys"

I don’t ask much from you, dear reader, so when I tell you today that I have a task for you, I’d appreciate it if you take it seriously, complete it assiduously and then report back in detail on your findings. Here’s the task. After reading this article, keep in mind the word “journey” and […] Read the post...

Benign to Five on obliterating wank language

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” At least that’s what the character Syme from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four reckons. Syme is a contributor to the Party’s dictionary of Newspeak, the language that will eventually replace standard English, and admits to the protagonist, Winston Smith, that he relishes destroying words. Of course, Orwell meant Syme’s words […] Read the post...

The Haught guide to "learnings"

‘‘Learnings’’ is like a two metre tall, English-speaking, double-wattled cassowary in post-apocalyptic leather body armour on a steam train singing Broadway musical numbers. Nobody knows what it is, how or why it got there — but, my word, do they love it. Read the post...