Anyone who has ever had dealings with a marketing or PR department will probably have experienced at the time feelings similar to when they first encountered a foreign language. "Our new line of streamlined products will enhance our client-focused approach", was how it was put to me a few days ago by a particularly polished "blue skies thinking" sort of person. What was being conveyed to me I have no idea; but I do know that impenetrable phrases were unloaded on me like machine gun fire with the intention of bamboozling me into parting with either my cash or my judgement. Fortunately I managed to excuse myself before the scheduled afternoon session on "thinking outside the matrix" began. But it was a close call.

It's not hard to discern why large corporations talk like this. They are often either trying to conceal something from their workers or trying to sell something to the rest of us. The easiest way to fool a person is, after all, by making it impossible to grasp what on earth it is you are talking about. As George Orwell put it many years before the advent of the modern PR department, "When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink".

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