If you were on a precipice, maybe you should just let go

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Last week, I posted one of my most successful blogs this year. "Top 10 worst corporate phrases" was for all you folk out there who hate ugly jargon such as “reach out”, “touch base” and “push the envelope”. You know, the sort of shudder-inducing language only used by people who take themselves way too seriously and are probably compensating for something. And I don’t just mean a lack of vocabulary.

If you missed my magnum opus, you can read it again here.

By and large, it went down a storm. Mike, Creativepool’s MD, liked it. Creativepoolers liked it. People on Twitter liked it (and retweeted it). People on Facebook liked it. People on Linkedin liked it and many of the groups in which I shared it were awash with comments.

Well, I say people on LinkedIn liked it. There was one exception. Oh, no, Mr John Reeves didn’t like it one bit. And yes, I can name him; he made his comments in the public domain, so it’s fair game. Mr John Reeves didn’t like it one bit.

Unnecessary and poncy

Now, I agree that I did use the word “poncy” in the original blog post. As in corporate jargon is “unnecessary and poncy”. I may have also been slightly sneery about those who use this pretentious language. But it’s widely accepted that, in the blogosphere, as long as you don’t make directly personal comments that are actually libellous and outright offensive, there’s an understanding that it’s all a bit tongue in cheek. More so than in print, anyway.

That being said, it’s not just the blogosphere, of course. I mean, look at Jeremy Clarkson. He was fired only when he crossed the line and actually hit someone, and yet he spilled out vitriol on a weekly basis – and a large percentage of the English-speaking world was very happy that he did so. Charlie Brooker is another example. You could even lump comedy panellists in there too. Has John Reeves never seen Mock The Week? Heaven forbid he should ever come across David Mitchell or Frankie Boyle.

So I was a bit surprised that John Reeves reacted so badly to it. In one of three outbursts (none of which made much sense and were riddled with all sorts of mistakes) he advised me that my death would probably be quite a good thing: “If you were actually on a precipice maybe you should just let go.” Nice.

Stupid is as stupid does

He then evidently thought he hadn’t been harsh enough, because about a minute later, he then added – just for good measure – “You’re an idiot”.

Sadly, my response was taken down by the moderator. I was rather proud of it:

"Interesting that you're calling me an idiot (and an idiot who should grow up and/or die, no less) when you're the one who spells like a five-year-old. This is LinkedIn, not a playground. Run along."

Fair enough, I thought. I didn’t start the fight. I’m happy to listen to opinions, but calling me an idiot? Really?

Too busy to be insulting? Use text speak instead

We then got the phrase favoured by teenagers across YouTube and Twitter. We got “Seriously”. I love that.

Swiftly followed by: “Look back at your original comments and get a life. Ppl in the real world use phrases, get over yourself”

And yes, he did use “ppl” because he’s THAT busy.

Frankly, I don’t actually give a monkey’s what John Reeves actually thinks, but it does make me wonder what people are thinking when they comment offensively on blog posts. It’s one thing to do it on the Guardian’s or Telegraph’s comment section – where you can be anonymous or use a pseudonym if you want to – but why would the President of a company (for that is what he is) want to be thought of publicly as a troll? But if he does want his connections on LinkedIn to see what sort of a person he is – and not in a good way – then I guess that’s up to him. After all, he’s got that far already.

by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a copywriter, blogger and editor


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