Adjudicate Obfuscate Plasticize

I have to admit that I have a talent for obfuscation.  Wikipedia refers to obfuscation as “beclouding” and I have to admit that I like this description.   It seems to really capture what obfuscation is–  using bigger less familiar words to confuse people into not really understanding what you’re talking about.    It is in the skill set of any successful salesperson.   (Even honest salespeople,  it seems to me– based in part on my own work in sales– sometimes have to,  as a country woman might put it  “buffalo them with that bullshit”.   I confess I once had a job where I tried to call people who were working at dull jobs with lots of down time,  such as motel clerks.    I made a big point of telling them that I was calling Long Distance (remember when that used to be a real big deal) to tell them that they had been selected to receive our special offer this month.   Most of the time I did not get all of the way through my pitch,   but when I did,  the poor bored motel clerk had agreed to buy a 5 year subscription to 5 different magazines for about 300 dollars,   though it was pitched in such a way that the ones who took us up on the special offer Never realized what they had just bought or how much it would cost them. )   You could say I understood obfuscation all too well.

Adjudication is a legal term.   It refers to the process by which a judge weights evidence and applies rules of law to resolve a dispute between two parties.    It could be used with reference to most any court case or arbitration proceeding against some (theoretically) neutral judge or arbiter.   It is most commonly heard in reference to private (non-court) binding arbitration or in civil court cases.   It is a very precise word,  which law school students spend a great deal of time and energy to fully understand and appreciate.   It is also a word that is almost impossible to use correctly outside of the contexts specified.    It might in fact be an excellent word to employ in an obfuscation.

Plasticize,  it seems to me has two meanings.    I could literally be referring to a chemical process in which one creates plastic,  which  as explained in this other book that I didn’t actually review,  covers a huge variety of compounds made from a great many different ingredients for a great many different purposes.    But it also seems to me that it can be used less literally,  to refer to a process of becoming fake or distant.   If I heard someone remark that Hollywood has become so plasticized they can’t bear to go to the movies anymore,   the remark would make sense to me.    Although I’d be the first to admit it was a poor usage and didn’t really convey what it is the speaker finds lacking in current cinema.

My sincerest thanks to Don Dobbie who suggested today’s words.


27 comments on “Adjudicate Obfuscate Plasticize

    • Luckily, I really don’t want readers who are as dumb as plants, so it sounds as though this piece was more or less copacetic. (Just to throw out an old word one rarely hears anymore.)

    • For some reason plasticize makes me think of that Joni Mitchell song (tear down life and put up a parking lot). Wonderful miracle that it can be (gazes both at my computer and my hearing aid) plastic seems most always to have a cheap connotation.

  1. We have deliberated, adjudicated and elongated your enumerations of obfuscation and have found them to be non-plasticized. Thanks

  2. One of my favorite obfuscations it to tease a buddy of mine who is less tall than most of us by calling him ‘attitudinally challenged.’ A balding buddy gets to hear ‘follically challenged.’ I suppose that I will receive some adjudication as really mean if I did not point out that teasing each other is reciprocal and done with lots of laughs.

    • Hmmmm. Reading that first comment (about your friend who doesn’t stand so tall) I find myself thinking that surely you meant altitudinally challenged. (unless of course he also has a terrible attitude).

    • That really is a good rule to follow most of the time, Richard. I beg my readers indulgence on this blog, where I do feel free to use lots and lots of big words, even when smaller ones might have done just as well.

    • The trick was to find someone who was sitting by a phone but didn’t really have anything to do. We never called residences, only businesses. We had the Yellow Pages (back when those were actual big thick books) from cities and towns all over the US, and we would call all of the businesses in a particular category in whatever town’s book we were working off. We were constantly swapping tips about categories that seemed to work well, and supervisors often discouraged us from doing categories that were known not be good. For me it was a real job, with taxes and a paycheck….though it always felt a bit shady, calling to rip those poor people off.

  3. “It might in fact be an excellent word to employ in an obfuscation.” hahahaha I love your posts.

    Sometimes, people who are accustomed to using larger words confuse people who are not – without intending to obfuscate. It’s just how they talk or write. And anyway, one of the great things about the internet is that you can actually find some challenging reading if you look in the right places.

    • Susan, I’m so glad that you’ve become a regular reader and commentator. On this blog I really do use more obscure words with abandon, particularly when those obscure words are suggested by my readers. On the book review blog, I usually do a lot better at keeping the language simpler and try to always focus on who would or wouldn’t probably like the book being reviewed.

  4. Pingback: Adjudicate Obfuscate Plasticize « Laitom’s Blog

  5. It is interesting. I never thought of obfuscation in a sense other than programming. In programming you obfuscate your code to make it harder to decompile and figure out when the code is easily obtained.

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