Too Many Rooms, Too Many Elephants
The phrase that has been irritating me lately is “the elephant in the room.” It’s been around a while. I remember it coming up in therapy discussions of family dynamics and denial in the mid-1980s. That is long before this 2006 book, or this one.
Lately, a whole herd of these pachyderms have been stampeding the information superhighway (remember that one?). Just look at this recent online article, or this blog headline, or this one. There’s even a picture of the beast.
All clichés begin life as meaningful phrases, but then they have the misfortune of being pounded into irrelevancy by overuse.
This elephant has been pounded enough. Let’s put it back in the savanna. Please.
comments powered by Disqus
Maarja Krusten - 8/5/2007
Pence mostly describes cliches. Too much jargon also can get in the way of good communication. It can happen in any field or profession (yes, even history). The Boston Globe ran a article two years ago on what it called the buzzword backlash:
I’ve seen many sites such as
at which people post or invite comments about the most commonly used jargon, such as “ramp it up,” “leverage the core competencies,” “picking the low hanging fruit,” etc.
- Battle Over Confederate Monuments Moves to the Cemeteries
- German WW1 U-boat found off Belgian coast
- $35 million Book of Mormon manuscript sale called the ‘biggest game-changer in Mormon history’
- 159 scholars at Harvard sign petition reprimanding the school for rejections of Chelsea Manning and Michelle Jones
- Fact Check: Steve Bannon’s Bad History
- University of Utah appoints first Mormon Studies professor
- Eric Foner discusses the manipulation of history
- Male historian tapped to lead Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas
- Decline in History Majors Continues, Departments Respond
- He’s 75 now. When he started teaching at the University of New Orleans students walked out on his class.