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Going Forward, The Light Brigade…

January 27, 2009

knock-some-sense

While I’m here, I’d like to take this opportunity to stick the boot into the phrase going forward, so beloved of politicians, business-types and similiar riff-raff. I mean, going forward? As opposed to what? Going backwards? Going sideways? Going up and down like a fucking pogo stick? At first, I assumed it was just one of those phrases that spreads like all those wretched TV catch-phrases that simpletons repeat believing themselves to be witty.

Homer Simpson’s Doh was inescapable for a while as was the fantastically irritating formulation,  that is, like, sooo not… whatever the fuck it wasn’t. I always dismissed people who used these catch-phrases as morons, on par with people who believe in astrology or the dictatorship of the proletariat.

But politicians and PR suits use phrases for a reason, moronic as that reason might be. I realized that going forward is a perfect phrase for people whose interest is in maintaining the status quo–who in fact have no interest in going anywhere at all. Perfect because used in a sentence or while making an assertion, (we have had to raise prices so that we can improve services going forward), it creates the illusion of dynamism. This is not mere standard waffle, oh no…we’re going forward…movement…action…forging a path into a glorious and better future…we have your best interest at heart…going forward!

It has the bonus effect of allowing the user of the phrase to imply that anyone who is critical or sceptical is not going forward–is, in fact, an enemy of change, of improvement. It’s a phrase that allows the reactionary to play the revolutionary.

Going forward, can we all agree to slap the next silly bastard we hear using this slimy phrase?

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12 Comments
  1. parallax permalink
    January 27, 2009 5:26 AM

    so that’s what MM looks like – all teeth and trousers. What’s in the top pocket? or is that just a poncey shirt logo?

    Anyway – onward and upward with a most excellent blog Mishari

  2. mishari permalink*
    January 27, 2009 10:50 AM

    Nice to have you back, par…I was wondering were you’d got to. Everything alright, I hope?

    It’s a nerdy pen-holder doo-dad, standard issue for all beaming twerps…

  3. parallax permalink
    January 27, 2009 1:52 PM

    Thanks, mish – yep everything’s cool – glad to see you back-with-a-blog

  4. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 27, 2009 11:47 PM

    It’s not a bad likeness, though I have got more hair. I’m often leaning over, too.

  5. mishari permalink*
    January 28, 2009 12:05 AM

    Well, it was how you were described to me by Someone Who Knows…

  6. prudence permalink
    February 1, 2009 12:10 PM

    Oh mishari, it was with a heavy heart that I decided only yesterday that I could no longer tune out this most wasteful and annoying of phrases and I would have to accept its existence for the good of my sanity! Where did it come from? has someone invented a time machine and kept it quiet? Everytime I hear it I feel most disinclined to follow that particular leader in their plans, whether forward, sideways, upside-down whatever!

  7. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 4:36 PM

    of course, dear Prudence (sorry…middle-aged man’s joke), whenever I hear the phrase used, I instantly dismiss the speaker as either a fool or a scoundrel…ditto the phrase “…in a very real sense”.

  8. prudence permalink
    February 1, 2009 7:01 PM

    I get the ‘dear Prudence’ reference despite considering myself far from middle-aged… I wonder to myself why ‘going forwards’ is just so objectionable that it gives me a physical pain to hear it? phrases like ‘in the future’ or ‘from now on’ seemed to have been accepted despite their similar lack of giving any extra meaning. I think in the end some things just seem particularly stupid, like nobody working for Wrigleys, the chewing gum people, noticing the idiocy of the slogan ‘when you eat chew’? …

  9. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 7:56 PM

    I suppose it’s especially offensive because it’s so pointless: time, except in theoretical quantum events described by Richard Feynman, goes forward. To state your intentions “going forwards” is just utterly redundant.

    Anything you intend or hope to do will be in the future. To reach the future necessarily entails “going forward”.

    It seeems to me that the only conceivable reason to use the phrase is stupidity (you heard it and thought it sounded good) or duplicity (you want to disguise your intentions or lack thereof). It’s no surprise that the phrase is especially popular with politicians, whose stupidity and duplicity are off the scale…

  10. mishari permalink*
    February 1, 2009 7:59 PM

    …also, I’m guessing the active “going” is particularly offensive. As you rightly point out, “from now on” and “in the future” are equally redundant. Somehow, perhaps because they’re sort of passive, they’re less objectionable.

  11. Prudence permalink
    February 2, 2009 1:57 PM

    Perhaps the actively stupid are so stupid to believe that they could actively go backwards if they so desired?

  12. mishari permalink*
    February 2, 2009 2:34 PM

    God knows, they try often enough. “Let’s outlaw…” fill in the blanks. “Let’s censor the internet…”. They never learn, do they? Going forward, I mean…

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