The Devil’s Dictionary: On papers white and otherwise

The Devil's Dictionary: On papers white and otherwise

A tongue-in-cheek guide to common business terminology by the man who brings you Slithershanks, the worst manager in the world.

The Federal government’s White Paper on Australia’s role in the Asian Century is attracting a lot of criticism. I can’t see why. The paper looks perfectly white to me. And anyway, it is the black letters on the white paper that really matter. You know, the bits you read. I suppose it could have been pink paper. Blue paper would have been quite nice, too. But really, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Paper is paper. No more, no less. Here are some definitions that look nice on paper.

Audit: An opportunity for the student to teach the examiner how to cheat.

Corporate Social Responsibility: A way for companies to take responsibility for their belief that society only exists when they say it does.

Director’s duty: To get paid as handsomely as possible before anyone figures out how useless you are.

Ethics: An activity strictly confined to after hours.

Famulous: A medieval sorcerer’s assistant. These days they are called economists.

Gelogenic: Laughter provoking. These days it is called economics.

Mates: The key to corporate success in Australia. The great thing about mates is that they have mates, who have mates who have mates who all know how to look after each other. Because they are mates.

Order of Australia: In the finance industry, an accolade that is given out about two years before a Court Order of Australia.

Tax Office: A bureaucracy that spends an inordinate amount of money taking away other people’s money.


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