How to name things

Clive James on "The name-changing fidgets"

I just listened to an insightful, acute and funny radio show by legendary writer Clive James. He attacks companies that change their names and the verbal gymnastics they go through to come up with new words. Here's a snippet:

Such changes of name were once made by freshly appointed executives who wanted to announce their arrival, and who, unable to change what they should, changed what they could. But by now, surely, it's done out of a kind of desperation, as if words could work magic. It happens throughout the culture, and the misguided use of the word "culture" is a disturbing further development of what is essentially voodoo.

You can read a transcript on the BBC's website [Corrected link]. It's worth scrolling down and clicking on the audio button so you can listen to Clive James reading it - his delivery is part its charm.

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Matthew Stibbe

Matthew is founder and CEO of Articulate Marketing.