LUCY KELLAWAY: Corporate hogwash by any other name smells just as revolting as the poppycock it is
’The first rule about calling corporate bulls**t is not to do it too assiduously or you will go insane’
Washington University students were offered a new course in March, Calling Bulls**t In the Age of Big Data. For the past number of decades, week in and week out, I have been calling bulls**t, and so was delighted to hear my favourite pastime had made it into academia. While this course is limited to spotting bulls**t in numbers, there is an equal need for one spotting it in words, especially words used in business. What follows is an outline for a rival course aimed to fill that gap. It starts with a definition: "bullts**t" means nonsense, usually of a puffed-up variety that pretends to be something it is not. Sharp eyes will spot at once the difficulty in applying this to corporate life — almost everything fits the description. Before I have even got inside my office, I have tripped over a yellow plastic sign reading, "Caution Wet Floor" — bulls**t, because usually the floor is not wet, and if it were, the picture of someone falling spectacularly is wildly overdoing it. The first r...