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According to Jonathon Green [Slang], the incomparable scholar of the language which fell off the back of a lorry, ‘Slang is the poetry of the gutter, is the poetry of the disenfranchised, the poetry of the have-nots.’ Jonathan Meades on Jargon: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know ***** BBC 2019
Gore Vidal described irony as ‘the weapon of the impotent.’ ibid.
The real satisfaction is to be had in the creation of texts, of slang which will be deemed offensive and of satire. Satire need not be funny but it must be mordant, vicious, aggressive and hurtful. ibid.
Slang is the expression of what we think rather than what we are enjoined to think. ibid.
Slang is the most sour poetry, it is not wishy-well, it’s demotic, it’s the spoken and very occasionally written invention of the tap-room, the bar-room, the workplace, the barracks, the private place. ibid.
Slang is about showing off, about increasing one’s idiolect … it’s an expression of verbal dexterity … The pleasure of slang is in the making. ibid.
His proudly proclaimed racism and misogyny, his cosmic ignorance, his chilling nationalism, his blatant nepotism, his tax paying, his bullying, sheer nastiness, his complete lack of generosity, his success in turning America into a pariah state, he has launched on an undeserving world a leatherette-faced consigliere called Kelly Ann. ibid.
‘Anyone who puts himself forward to be elected to a position of political power is almost bound to be socially and emotionally insecurity, or criminally motivated, or mad’ ibid. Auberon Waugh
Don’t they [politicians] realise how tired, how clapped out their paltry jargon is? It’s the language of people who can’t think for themselves, and arrogantly believe that the rest of the populus shares their infirmity. We don’t. These people are programmed morons, their threadbare formulae are more than just pockmarks, they’re seething buboes signalling an absolute contempt for the populus whom they regard as gullible patsies to be patronisingly talked down to. They signal too a contempt for the language of the country they are meant to be governing. They signal their own poverty of thought. Are they brainwashed? They are certainly tongue-washed. ibid.
Jargon is the language of the trained liar, the professionally mendacious, the dishonesty trainee who learns from his masters … That very clarity is of course the problem. ibid.
These accents are worn with such pride, such misplaced pride, in their differences and their ticks and their whimsical peculiarities that they have become foreign to one another. ibid.
Ancient sculpture is the true school of modesty. But where the Greeks had modesty, we have cant; where they had poetry, we have cant; where they had patriotism, we have cant; where they had anything that exalts, delights, or adorns humanity, we have nothing but cant, cant, cant. Thomas Love Peacock, Crotchet Castle, 1833
Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, – though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, – the cant of criticism is the most tormenting! Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. Samuel Johnson
Is there something up with my banter, chaps? Monty Python’s Flying Circus s4e3, RAF chaps, BBC 1974
I have laboured to refine our language to grammatical purity, and to clear it from colloquial barbarisms, licentious idioms, and irregular combinations. Samuel Johnson, cited The Rambler 14th March 1752
Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work. Carl Sandburg, New York Times 13th February 1959
Jargon allows us to camouflage intellectual poverty with verbal extravagance. David Pratt, foreign editor Sunday Herald
Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions. Eric Bentley, British-born American playwright
Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Roger Ebert
Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon. William Zinsser, author On Writing Well
Jargon is a sure sign that intelligence has lost its way. Marty Rubin, author The Boiled Frog Syndrome
Dialect words – those terrible marks of the beast to the truly genteel. Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge 1886
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declare aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. George Orwell
The whole business of swearing, essentially England swearing, is mysterious. Of its very nature swearing is as irrational as magic – indeed, it is a species of magic. But there is also a paradox about it, namely this: Our intention in swearing is to shock and wound … When a word is well established as a swear word, it seems to lose its meaning. George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you think of an everyday English equivalent. George Orwell