Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Paging Dr. Johnson...

While perusing a web site for the technology that pays my bills (at least pays my bills until I get tired of my jobs being transferred1 to India2), I ran across a word that didn't seem right - "performant". It reminded me of the business pseudo-speak of which the dotcom era was built out of - remember, if you dare, these words (Warning: The following words have been deemed inappropriate for non brain dead humans, i.e. any non-executive) "monetize", "architecting", "touch base", "win-win", "trending", "solutions", "ramping" and ad fucking nauseum and et goddamn cetera. I wandered through some online dictionaries and did not find a definition. I did find that performant is a French adjective that means high performance (and I thought gigolo was a French word that meant high performance...). Using these words is like moving to a suburb so that you can say that you live in that suburb, it doesn't change essences, but is an attempt to dress up what may in reality be mundane and usually doesn't fool anyone. Madame Bovary would have used "performant" as le mot juste in describing her curtains.

1Yes, I originally used the word "outsourced" until I caught myself using the very thing I derided - a stupid, made up word that obfuscates the reality of what it is describing.
2A syllogism comes to mind

1. Management salaries are high cost.
2. It is a truth generally acknowledged that most management/executives aren't very smart and really get their positions by talking, connections and luck.
3. India has a lot of very smart people who can talk very well, usually in the Queen's English.
4. Salaries are much, much lower in India.
5. Therefore, to save money, management positions should be transferred to India, with the bonus of smart, fluent people doing the job of dim, rock-mouthed jargon-spewing golfers.

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