The key element in weaseltalk, a.k.a. marketingspeak, is pretending that your readers or listeners are extremely stupid. Even though you know that most of the readers and listeners are relatively intelligent people who react to weaseltalk by dropping their jaws, grinding their teeth, rolling their eyes, or gagging. When it comes to weaseltalk, there is no feedback loop — only a massive disconnect several light years across.

Weaseltalk is the bane of a writer’s existence. That’s because marketing organizations will pay us big money to write weaseltalk but every time one of us writes it a small part of his or her soul shrivels up and dies. Those of us who keep it up too long become a director of PR or communications or something with the oxymoronic phrase “customer relations” in it.

Joe Kissell, author of several acclaimed software books for Peachpit and Take Control, translates Microsoft’s press release on the delay — er, the release — of Office 2008 from weaseltalk into plain English. Sigh.

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