On the exploitation of circuitous verbiage

If you’re ever compelled to look up scientific papers on the topic of “twitter” that have nothing to do with the social-ish media platform Twitter, you’ll possibly come across the resplendent 2005 article: Jargon: The twittering of scientists and medics.

As it turns out, the word jargon “is descended from the old French word ‘jargoun’, denoting the meaningless chatter and twittering of birds.” And the author of the study, to say the least, is not a fan.

And the paper itself is pretty much perfect! Here's a list of the things it has:

  • the etymology of the word jargon
  • a Greek themed limerick
  • the supercilious tone of a seasoned academic
  • a Kevin Bacon vs Sir Patrick Stewart dance-off, meticulously choreographed to a remix mashup of Footloose and the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme song

Okay, that last one was probably just a line I stole from my 1993 Christmas wish list, but the rest are definitely in the paper. The point is, jargon is the enemy of communication. To paraphrase the author, jargon serves no one but the insecure who wish to mask their incertitude with the comfort of knowing big words. Jargon needs to be "right-sized" immediately. Or does it need to be "synergized"? Either way, I wish it was downwardly mobile.