Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Conceptualize your own damn paradigm

Today's addition to my bookmarks is a new online posting of Tony Proscio's excellent anti-jargon crusade, where you can read his dissections of individual words or phrases that are pervasive in the charitable-funding business. For example don't get him started about "persons":

For reasons no doubt buried in the ancient political sensitivities of the human services, it is considered woefully déclassé to refer to human beings as "people." "Emergency shelters in New York provided accommodation [you'd never catch them "giving a bed"] to 35,000 persons last year," a paper recently announced. Why PERSONS? Would anyone, in conversation, ever have said that? "This budget assumes four sessions per week, serving an average 30 persons each." PERSONS? Go figure. Evidently the term "people" takes too little account of the dignity of those being helped. Sorry: assisted.

Proscio's three published essays on plain speaking are free to download (linked on that site above) and well worth the read. He not only writes well with a wicked wit but has some serious points to make for, in particular, progressive-minded non-profits and funders.

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