Language as Politics

“Corporate English obscures reality by excluding people.” While this article is marked as “commentary,” I find it ethically unsound for its author to suggest that magazine writers should intentionally insert biased language that promotes a pro-union / anti-business point of view, on the grounds that “corporate English commonly portrays economic processes as if they just happen, independent of people.” First of all, it would be far more useful to write an article that critiques the coded language of the various stakeholders on a particular political issue. 

  • I’m hardly an economist, and definitely not a socialist… but according to this author’s logic, Lenin was accusing Marx of being equally exclusionary when he [Lenin] wrote in 1894, “Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intentions, but, rather, on the contrary, determining the will, consciousness and intentions of men.” To Marx, the economic evolution of society was an inevitable force — the change in the economy would “just happen”.  (Of course, Marx would have attacked unions as mealy-mouthed wimps who have learned how to whine but lack the guts to revolt. )

  • What’s perhaps even funnier is that the author considers the brief and clear sentence “Tuition fees are going up.” to be an example of intentionally exclusionary “corporate English.”

  • Here’s a much better example of deliberately obscure language: “In order to ensure that the university can continue to provide the level of excellence that its students expect, even during these shaky economic times, a new source of revenue must be found. All other alternatives being exhausted, it has been determined that a new tuition rate structure may be necessary. 

Language as Politics (The Guild Reporter)