‘Sex Change’ Word Games


In my former life as a journalist, I worked for a big corporation. And as big corporations are wont to do, this one created its own language when it didn’t know what else to do.

Where I worked, in the newsroom, this took the form of several initiatives that were rolled out like a season each year: winter, spring, summer, fall and balderdash. One year it was called “mainstreaming.” The next, “real people.” Still later, “crowd sourcing.” All these words and phrases had the same idea – to get regular people to buy into our product, we needed to include regular people in our stories. If that seems pretty straightforward (regardless of whether it’s useful or not), you’re right. Why did the name for it keep changing? Because whatever word they chose, the initiative never led to the anticipated result. Readership kept dropping, leading to layoff after layoff until yours…

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