Viking fashion

October 21, 2006

A nauseating piece of writing quoted in the excellent Policeman’s blog introducing ‘Operation Viking’, the second paragraph of which reads

“The challenge of Viking is not to commit local Police to working harder, but through collaboration and effective, meaningful problem solving partnerships to work smarter. Problem solving models have been developed to address the root causes of crime and disorder in the Town and we will systematically dismantle these. Viking will forge new partnerships and balance respective agendas, enabling the realisation of intelligence led Policing.
Where we lack resources, we will be innovative, when we respond, we will be lawfully audacious and by harnessing the potency of collaborations, we will ignite synergy.
Vision, Transparency, Ingenuity – we welcome you to Operation Viking.”

So coppers ‘ignite synergy’ these days, here was I thinking they just nicked villains.
SilverTiger has a post today in which he asks ‘What motives do people have when they deliberately choose what style to wear?’ He suggests a few answers such as such as “To impress”, “To be different”, “To look professional”. The Operation Viking extract makes me wonder what makes people choose the words they do. To impress and sound professional certainly, sometimes to sound different sometimes to show they’ve joined the gang, quite often to cover things up and obfuscate and, very occasionally, to say clearly what they mean.

One Response to “Viking fashion”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    This document is written in a language that most of us would call “Jargon”. In the best instances (which are rare), Jargon is used for efficient communication between experts in a particular discipline. The rest of the time (as here), it is used to befuddle non-experts.

    Use of jargon, such as that in the Viking description, performs any or all of the following:

    1. To convince lay persons that the writer knows what he is talking about and therefore to accept possibly unpalatable conclusions;

    2. To convince them that the purpose of the document is very important and impressive;

    3. To make believe that its subject matter is too technical for ordinary people to understand (so they won’t challenge it or even read it but let it go by default);

    4. To make the trivial sound deep and meaningful;

    5. To tell the true story (so they can’t be sued for misrepresentation) while seeming to tell a different story;

    There is something in Britain called the Plain English Campaign and all public bodies are supposed to follow its guidelines to make their documents and announcements comprehensible to ordinary people. At the very least the Project Viking text offends against this.


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