Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Pretty Sad Excuse

I'm not sure if some witty neologist has already come up with a word for this phenomenon, but there oughta be at least a five-yard-and-repeat-of-down yellow flag that concerned citizens should be able to throw down somewhere when they see badly forced acronyms, i.e. where it's clear that the word was chosen first, or at least most of the way first, and then the terms thrown in to the point that they only *sort of* make sense.

I'm sitting at a computer terminal at Ali Al-Salem (it's either an Air Force or Army base in Kuwait) and the poster above the computer says, "SHARP: Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention." For the record, there's no ampersand thrown in between the words 'response' and 'prevention' that would actually tie the whole thing together and make it make sense.

Whether someone just really liked the word 'SHARP' or they saw it coming together when the S, H, A, unfolded in sequence, what they're literally promoting there is the "Response Prevention."

I don't mean to make light of something that is actually a serious matter within the military, but I'm trying to imagine some very "empowered" organization focusing on "response prevention" and I can't help it.


Murph said...

I believe you're referring to Forced
Acronym Reverse Term Syndrome.

C R Krieger said...

Now I have to get Murph's response out of my mind.

Once, a long time ago, I was a staff puke at Hq Allied Air Forces Southern Europe (AIRSOUTH) and we had just had an exercise where the General had asked how many J-79 engines there were in theater (powered F-4s and F-104s).  No one knew.  The solution, over my strenuous objection, was an all singing, all dancing report.  Our FLASH Messages were running 24 hours behind and we were going to add another report?

Guess who was charged with developing this little gem?  So, I named it Asterix, after the popular European cartoon character.  Then my boss, who knew me to be a trouble maker, told me to turn that name into an acronym.  The first part was easy, "Air South Tactical ... something".  I can't remember what I finally came up with, but it was worth it.  Just like Asterix, that little report was going to beat everyone to a pulp.

You have to take (make) your fun where you find it.

Regards  —  Cliff