Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Sustainable" is the New "Smurfy"

You likely noticed how the Smurfs used the word "Smurf" as an all purpose fill-in, a shibboleth, and a way connecting and showing how cool they were.  Of course, it can also be used in other ways, as in when Grouchy yells, "Oh, good Lord.  Who SMURFED?  That smells terrible."  Or when Neil Patrick Harris actually sang, "So, I smurfed her just a little kiss, like this!" while pretending to play "Walk this Way" on guitar.

Managers in all sorts of firms have found the words, "transitioning our core competency" to have the same effect.

Now, "sustainable" is the coolest, most meanlingless word in English.  It's the new Smurfy!

What is the most ridiculous use of the "sustainable" that you have seen, readers?

The trend is ominous.  And, like must UNsustainable trends, some people have seen it coming.


Stephen Karlson said...

The Northern Illinois University Library has escalators. There's a sign on the ground floor.

"To support sustainability, the escalators are turned off at 4.30 pm."

I really should post a picture, perhaps your call for ideas will be sufficient motivation.

Anonymous said...

From the Leadership jargon generator:

I ask you to leverage and understand one key thing: What we are being asked to do -- execute expertly on our emerging sustainable methodology -- has not changed.

From the Business Jargon Generator:
Harmonized, re-engineered sustainable culture

Your competing deans are paragons of the latter.

Bill said...

Robert Solow's essay on sustainability contains one of the most memorable statements I've read on this topic: "It is very hard to be against sustainability. In fact, the less you know about it, the better it sounds."

Art Carden said...

XKCD on an ominous trend:

David O. Cushman said...

Colleges and universities are treasure troves for such matters. Here is just one of many "sustainable" candidates I found in a quick search of my own college's website (from a news article): "Marshall's career goals include getting a sustainable job in a corporation so that one day he can start his own business."

Anonymous said...

Hell, the University of Alaska even offers a PhD in sustainability.

Dead or In Jail said...

The next time I get shockingly, unbelievably, peel-me-off-the-ceiling high, I'll see if I can figure out what "sustainable" means.

Right now, I got nothing.

Anonymous said...

After I took the GRE last year, I started getting email from Columbia, advertising a "Master's in Sustainability".

In one of the emails, they profiled a graduate who has started his own "sustainable menswear firm".

Where I'm from, we call that "hand me downs"

Anonymous said...

Hwy 421, just outside of North Wilkesboro, NC. There is a "sustainable" rest stop. I'm unsure when it became sustainable.

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