Drink the Kool-Aid

One of the most over-used expressions at the moment in the US is ‘reaching out’ as in ‘thank you for reaching out to us’. I guess it means making contact. It carries more perceived weight than ‘thank you for contacting us’ as it implies some kind of herculean effort to ‘reach out’. The Four Tops hit was ‘Reach out and I’ll be there’ which might be the origin of the saying today.

I hate jargon and I am particularly twitchy about American jargon because my code-breaking mechanism isn’t wired to deal with the complexities of American speech. It can cause a great deal of confusion as this taped conversation between David Cameron and Barack Obama confirms.

BO: “Thank you for reaching out to us on this eurozone crisis. From our lighthouse position it looks like a burning platform.”

DC: “Jolly good Mr. President, what would be your advice?”

BO: “Well Dave sounds like the Greeks have been drinking the Kool-Aid, time they woke up and smelt the coffee.”

DC: “Quite, just what I was saying to Mrs. Merkel.”

BO: “It’s all about peeling the onion and time to boil the ocean. The Greeks, Spanish and Italians need to move the needle and push the envelope.”

DC: “Yes all of those things would be tickety boo.”

BO: “Never be afraid to open the kimono and find the bleeding edge Dave.”

DC: “Couldn’t agree more old chap, I’ll pass the advice on to George.”

BO: “Excellent Dave, glad we had this telcon, I need to reach out now and share my thoughts with Mr Holland in Paris. Why is he called Holland when he is French by the way? Stay tuned.”

Interpretations welcome!

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbcurio/5445408586

4 Responses to Drink the Kool-Aid

  1. joel says:

    I think you hit it out of the park on this one

  2. Libby says:

    Opening the Kimono?! I hope they don’t do that outdoors; you can get arrested for that sort of thing!

    It’s very refreshing to see an advertiser who hates jargon and Americanisms! My husband is in advertising, (and I’m sure you get this all the time too), and so often I’m at events and am either wanting to scream “talk properly!” or just stand there, baffled, as I have no idea what they’re on about.

    I may have to drop “Drinking the Kool Aid” into a conversation. I have no idea what that means and I’m interested to see whether anyone else does, or if they just pretend to!

    • Paul Simons says:

      Very funny. It is a blight on our industry, the Americans being the worst. My other half works for an American bank and she slips in to corporate speak sometimes; I just laugh and then so does she thankfully. I sometimes think it is a front to disguise any proper intellectual capacity. I was in a fund raising meeting a few years back with the usual suspects and one of the city finance boys said “it’s a plain vanilla move”. I then asked what that meant and he said he didn’t really know!! Rubbish really.

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