It seemed not right to raise this issue in the main blog on the tragic events.
However, we have come to accept tacitly the lazy and crude shorthand, 9.11. In any case, the logical order is 11.9.2001, ie. date-month-year. But why not “September”?
I have been corresponding about the New Yorker Festival in which I am to appear on 1st October, and have been setting up a meeting for 9.30 on 9.30! Ugh.
We now use such shorthand to achieve 4 things:
- the comfortable feeling that we are in the know;
- the sense that we belong to a group with similar knowledge;
- the exclusion of people who do not possess the insider knowledge;
- the sense of brusque efficiency, not least in terms of IT.
Acronyms and all jargon serve these functions.
When I was first on the Scottish Museums Council, I could not understand the minutes, since they were densely pock-marked by acronyms. I asked if the secretariat could provide a glossary of acronyms. At the next meeting I asked where it was. There was some uneasy shifting – they said they were working on it. At the next meeting the glossary was produced. There were over 200, many generated by the world of education. Someone who knew and used the acronyms was demonstrably part of the club. May of the acronyms seemed highly contrived. The name had clearly been rigged, often ponderously, to make a “good” acronym. Let’s have the courtesy to use the clearest explanatory or generally understood name of an entity.
I am the founder and at present the sole member of SAC.
This is, of course, the Society for the Abolition of Acronyms.