I wouldn't presume to out-Watson Don Watson by saying any more about management language than he has already so ably said, but here's a word or two about acronyms. Now, technically, an acronym is a word made from initial letters (UNESCO, Radar, Qantas etc) not just a bunch of initials, but since there's no really satisfyingly technical word for a bunch of letters, and bunches of letters seem to be colonising the language at an alarming rate, I'll use 'acronym' here to refer to the wide substitutionary use of bunched capital letters in place of words. I think there are two main reasons people use acronyms. Firstly, they use them to save time. But whose time? By compressing the words, the speaker or writer saves time by transferring the burden of cognitive interpretation onto the hearer or reader. Like deciphering 'txt' language (which I find brain-curdling), unpacking acronyms is an added layer of process for the recipient of communication, which she usually has to do rapidly and imperceptibly, and without compromising her reception of the message as a whole. The user of acronyms is essentially saying: 'my time is more valuable than yours.' The second reason is related to the first. People use acronyms to demonstrate their gnostic initiation into a particular tribe, their insider status. Their time is more valuable precisely because they have been initiated, because they are on first-letter terms with all the important phrases.

Having said that, I regularly encounter acronyms that, when expanded, don't make much more sense than a random bunch of letters; indeed many of their component words could be reversed, replaced or interchanged without violence to the sense - such as it is.

All art is a revolt against man’s fate

So said Andre Malraux, French adventure and statesman, and author of the 1933 novel Man's Fate.  I read this quote in Don Watson's Obama essay in The Monthly (June), and it's stayed with me. I think it's profoundly true.

Art and revolt seem synonymous in modernism, but what about grand old art, trundling in the broad furrows of classicism, or floating in the current of conformity? Yes, even this kind of art is revolting in its way.

Whatever other fates we can think of - the fate of meaninglessness in tragic isolation, the fate of biology in the black comedy of marriage - the commonest fate is death. Art - all art - is a revolt against death.

It's a way of recording what's constantly slipping away from us. It's an attempt to fix in space and time what is fundamentally unfixable. It's an attempt to aggrandise what we know is subject at last to indignity. Art is a shot at eternity.

I wonder if our general cultural failure at memento mori accounts for our (general) lack of interest in art. Or perhaps, vice versa.  When we entrust eternity to scientists and cosmeticians, art is aimless and death becomes revolting.