Via Tim comes this fun piece by Jeremy Clarkson:
Wog. Spastic. Queer. Nigger. Dwarf. Cripple. Fatty. Gimp. Paki. Mick. Mong. Poof. Coon. Gyppo. You can’t really use these words any more and yet, strangely, it is perfectly acceptable for those in the travel and hotel industries to pepper their conversation with the word “beverage”.
There are several twee and unnecessary words in the English language. Tasty. Meal. Cuisine. Nourishing. And the biblically awful “gift”. I also have a biological aversion to the use of “home” instead of “house”. So if you were to ask me round to “your home for a nourishing bowl of pasta” I would almost certainly be sick on you.
But the worst word. The worst noise. The screech of Flo-Jo’s fingernails down the biggest blackboard in the world, the squeak of polystyrene on polystyrene, the cry of a baby when you’re hungover, is “beverage”.
I have only one quibble: the worst word in the English language is not “beverage” but “executive”. If any product or service comes prefixed by the word “Executive” I will not pay for it on principle. Not only is it calculated to appeal to a sort of sad 80s “aspirationalism”—“the board’s with me; the bank’s with me; I’m going it alone”—the word is a self-embedded lie. Today an “executive” is someone who does not execute. By the time you have been promoted to such a level, you no longer do anything. Worse, only in football are the people who do do something (because they are talented enough to do it) paid more than the executives who tell them to do it (because they can no longer do it themselves).
David Hepworth has a telling piece in today’s Guardian that describes some related workplace phenomena:
For the benefit of readers not working in the magazine industry, the masthead is the page which carries the names of a title’s staff and their job titles, although it means something different in newspapers. This advertisement of prestige is not provided in other media and in recent years it has grown in direct proportion to the ego involved. In old-school titles the masthead was often hidden away somewhere near the crossword.
In modern fashion magazines, on the other hand, it can occupy more than a page, an indication of how important it is to the staff. It’s unique for being: a) written by the editor; b) examined closely and regularly by the mothers of staff; c) a telling indicator of a magazine’s life stage.
It starts with the editor, which is fair enough. They probably wrote it. The habit of putting the editor’s PA next is an importation from the status-obsessed world of women’s magazines and sends out the message that the second most important person around here is the one who answers my phone.
Clustering around the top will be managing editors and executive editors. How they got there we never know but the thing they have in common is that they used to be editors and can read a budget. There are deputy editors, only distinguished from assistant editors by the fact that they arrived first.
There are creative directors, too important to be mere art directors who are too important to be mere design editors, who lord it over one young man with a Hoxton fin and a hangover who does most of the actual layout.
Fortunately for anyone mentioning Jeremy Clarkson, the word “twat” is still allowed.
Even if were to be banned in the future, there would be an exemption for him I think.
I always interpret “executive” as meaning “with anodised aluminium attached”. I confess that that leaves me at a loss when faced with the “Executive Summary”.
“quality” is as bad. As in those little notices nailed to trees and pointing to new housing developments (coincidentally often of “executive-style homes”).
Because I’m such a wag, I often remark that I wish I had a marker pen with me with which to add “low” – how my family roar with merry mirth…..
“Executive Summary”, with the implication that the executive is too busy to read the whole thing as he/she zips from meeting to meeting so speed reads the summary and misses the detail.
“Executive Lounge” at airports, actually full of dweebs from accounts making a trip to the Frankfurt office carrying one of those bulky laptop bags and filling up their plate with the free pastries.
> carrying one of those bulky laptop bags and filling up their plate with the free pastries.
It’s a life.
> the word is a self-embedded lie. Today an “executive” is someone who does not execute.
I think you’re a bit out of date. Nowadays, an executive is either someone who does not execute or, increasingly, someone who is chronically underpaid and has been given the word “executive” in their title in lieu of money.
“By the time you have been promoted to such a level, you no longer do anything.”
You might mention “communication” while you’re at it. In my public sector days, I sat through a three-hour presentation about “communication” within the borough council – how good it was (excellent!) and how we could “communicate” better – and not once did anyone touch on what we might be communicating ABOUT, or what we might be communicating FOR. It set me wondering. Were a freak accident to decapitate everyone in that room, and everyone at the same level not present, how long would it take anyone outside the council to notice? It didn’t take long to realise that it would be six months at the very least.
About 1980, when they were trying to discourage naughty types and build a crowd of high-paying punters in suits, Nottingham Forest once built a swish new stand and named it ‘The Executive Stand.’
This was before ‘executive’ became a euphemism for ‘clerk’.
Thankfully, it’s now called The Brian Clough Stand.
Is ‘bevvy’ OK? I used to work in an office with a few literary types. At the end of the day, invites for a bevvy became ‘fancy un petitte bevoir’.
From there, it was only a short step to becoming ‘Anyone fancy a Simone?’
(Simone De Bevoir…. geddit?)
what the hell are you on about how does any of the first paragragh (which are mainly all racial terms) come anywhere close to words like beverage, did you just fancy talking a bunch of racist shit and try and style it out to make it sound ok for you to say it?? well ive got a few words that aint on your list…… you are a fucking cock faced prick, a dick sucking wanker your flippin dickhead. infact your a racist bitch and deserve to die
Terry Eagleton’s back—and this time he’s angry.
what a fucking loser! how the fuck is executive even on the list i reckon your a virgin, your definately racist but i reckon your also a virgin coz your such a prick its impossible that any girl has ever slept with you! pluss you got too much time on your hands, now! …….go get a hair cut, get in shape, fix yourself up abit and completely change your boring fucked up personality and try find a women. im guessing that its gona be near enough impossible for you but atleast try and then maybe you might do something better with your time instead of talking racist shit you stupid donkey fucking bitch. have you even got any friends! coz that can also be 2nd on your list after finding a girl. and if all of it fails just go back to the farm you where born on and continue fucking chickens. you can be like the local pimp, you know! with all them cows, chickens and horses. its the only place you’l hav any popularity. wel… with a bunch of farm animals. you are a gay loser aint you
hes gay.. he even makes sure the animals hes fucking are male