South Park Self

a naked mole rat who is angry for personal reasons

Given that I am frequently guilty of theorising in the approximate realm of postmodernism, it's not really fair or consistent for me to take umbrage at undue jargonising. But, dammit, it's my umbrage, and I'm jolly well taking it. I gloss airily over the manifest iniquities of management and pc-speak that infect many meetings I am obliged to attend, and the degree of mental conditioning required for an apparently adult human to use "way forward" or "synergy" in cold blood. What's narking me off right now is emails couched in what appears to be mutated business-speak, if the business concerned is semi-literate, narcissistic and unduly self-important.

Is it just me, or is it basically rude to send me an email which contains the sentence "Kindly correct the transcript accordingly"? Particularly if you're a student talking to me, and you're referring to the email confirming your qualified status I've just sent on your behalf, as a favour, and in the middle of registration. "Kindly" always annoys me. It's a smug, condescending little word, which positions the writer as being obviously in the right, pointing out a glaring error to a lesser mortal who should have dealt with it already. It has the nuance of righteous irritation. I occasionally use it, but only when I'm annoyed beyond belief and wish to convey same in superficially polite but trenchant prose to the object of my fury. From a student to me, the supposed authority, it's unbelievably arrogant: the tone assumes that the correction of course will obviously be made, because of course it's a stupid error which the student is kindly pointing out to me.

Gah. It's made me all twitchy. "Kindly" always makes me all twitchy. As do "Thank you for your earliest attention to this matter" and "Your soonest response appreciated." Because nothing I could possibly be doing could possibly be more important than your request.

Of course, it doesn't help that the same student has some specialised spelling affliction which renders him unable to spell "course" - it's "coarse" throughout, on multiple documents. It makes the whole thing seem rather dodgy.

But the fact that I'm here to whinge about trivialities means that, against the odds, I've survived another orientation and registration nominally unscathed, and with the piles of savaged student corpses acceptably low. If I can just totter through change of curriculum next week, there may yet be calmer waters beyond. And my boss gives me chocolate. It helps.
  • Current Mood: accomplished a bit shattered, actually
Quite. "Kindly" is only, possibly, excusable if the writer is not actually a native English speaker and harbours the fond delusion that since it contains the word "kind" it's actually quite sweet and gentle. Or, indeed, if being deliberately (and justifiably) used with barbed intent.

Non-working Monkey ( is marvellous on business jargon. I especially enjoy when she live tweets from conference calls. Let me tell you, if "synergy" and "way forward" are the worst you have to contend with, you're doing pretty well.
I quite enjoyed the advising side of curriculum advice, most of the students were quite sweet and it was nice to see people making choices out of interest rather than fear.

The only down side was that in that heat, some of the students really smelt quite terrible. I propose that next year we get a sponsor to hand out free deodorant.
Was very cool to have you as part of the team, made me feel as though I had an ally in the middle of it all! And I'm glad you enjoyed it. It can be incredibly rewarding.

With you on the smelly student problem. And, I regret to say, at least one of the advisors.
There's a bit somewhere in "The Moor's last sigh" where Rushdie wanders off to discuss the mangling of English by Indians which unearths the wonderful phrase, "kindly oblige and do the needful". Probably for much the same reasons you've discussed it has tended to stick in my head.
Disappointingly, many people are not thoughtful about words
Yes, "Kindly correct the transcript accordingly" is rude in this context.

However, some people are just bad at expressing themselves in writing and borrow phrases without thinking much about them. Even a first language speaker might write that without appreciating its rudeness. I think carelessly rude and deliberately rude are different sins.

The fun comes in crafting a response that covers both while remaining professional and retaining the moral high ground. Synergistically, it's the only way forward.
Re: Disappointingly, many people are not thoughtful about words
I concur with your subject line. However, this particularly student does not merit clemency on the grounds of second-language English status. The tone of his demands throughout the interchange has been high-handed and more than somewhat self-absorbed; "kindly" narked me as much as it did because contextually it was clearly intended to rankle. He's one of those people who cannot convey thanks for a favour without it sounding perfunctory and grudging.
The only time I use "kindly" is in the type of court notice where you say things like "kindly place the matter on the roll accordingly"; but it's a standard-form type thing and you know we still wear long black gowns for no discernable reason too.
What irks me about business jargon is that it ruins perfectly valid and useful language. 'Synergy' seems to me a valid way to describe what happens when people get together and cool shit happens as a result. But the suits ruined it. Why couldn't they just have left synergy alone and stuck with leveraging their core competencies to commoditize the low hanging fruit, ffs?