Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Which Industry Has The Worst Jargon?

Illustration by Chelsea Beck/GMG
Illustration by Chelsea Beck/GMG
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Before we get into the Funbag, I’m gonna plug the DEADSPIN VERY LARGE ADULT GAME PARTY in Minnesota one more time. Feel like hanging out with us tomorrow night as we do some drankin’ and PODCAST RIFFIN’? Then join us here:


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Doors at 7 p.m.; Podcast at 8 p.m.

Buy tickets here:

Again, if you want your question answered live in front of you, just email me with the subject line MINNESOTA DEADCAST. We’ll see you tomorrow night. But first… your letters.


I was re-watching The Big Short over the weekend (a solid movie that retroactively makes me shit white hot rage because all the same villains are still committing the same dumb crimes), and I got really hung up on all of the finance bro jargon that gets tossed around. I thought to myself, “Do finance bros have the most irritating jargon?” But then I thought, “No, it must be doctors. Or tech bros. Or Crossfitters?” So my question is this: Is there any compartmentalized segment of life wherein the jargon isn’t annoying?

Probably not. In fact, tech and marketing jargon have cross-pollinated and bled into nearly every other industry, making general brandroid gobbledygook all but inescapable. People have become their doublespeak and it’s unnerving. Even if you work on a fucking oil rig, your boss is still probably gonna be like, “Let’s meet on the prow so I can DOWNLOAD you and give you the NET-NET on where we are in terms of PETROLEUM CONTENT.”

However, despite this horrifying trend, many industries still have their own proprietary dialect of insufferable argot, even as they endeavor to incorporate the word CREATOR into every single Powerpoint deck. So let’s go ahead and rank the jargon now, from most intolerable to somewhat less intolerable.


1. Law. No. 1 and it’s not close. Legal jargon is the emperor of all bad jargon. I don’t know how you lawyers do it. I really don’t. Reading a single paragraph of legal copy makes me want to die. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to write any of it, or to be some poor associate who has to pull all-nighters combing through amicus briefs that read like slow torture. “You see the word BARN there? That has a very specific and impactful legal connotation!” Sweet. Kill me.

2. Political punditry. Somehow the actual parliamentary jargon of the US political system is downright pleasant compared to the wretched insider-speak that is routinely spewed by the Cillizzas and Matthewses of the world. “Now looking at Butttuggit County in Iowa… BIG WALMART MOM county. Lotta blue dog votes up for grabs there!” Fuck that county. I hope it gets flooded.


3. Tech/Advertising/Branding. This is probably far too low on this list even at No. 3. You are probably so aware of our distaste for brand jargon here at Deadspin that you’re also sick of our ironic uses of SYNERGY and THINKFLUENCERS and CRYPTO-DISRUPTORS and what not. I apologize. I did not mean to irritate you.

4. Journalism. I can’t find it, but someone noted on Twitter that you can get any journalist to click on any link simply by tweeting “Oh man, the KICKER on this.” Same for “lede.” I bet every dorky journalist who saw The Post in the theater spent half the movie nodding solemnly and being like, “They nailed it. That’s just how Lupica and I talk at brunch.”


5. Gambling. This includes fantasy football, as far as I’m concerned. As for regular casino gambling, movies make that shit look way cooler than it actually is. Once you have some pasty poker pro next to you speaking real poker-ese, it becomes insufferable within nine seconds.

6. Football. Obligatory. Football lingo is not only needlessly complicated so as to appear more chesslike and intellectual than it actually is, but it also mixes in horrific war clichés (“THIS GAME IS GONNA BE WON IN THE TRENCHES”) that don’t even add any kind of scientific value to the sport’s lexicon. I blame Ron Jaworski for, like, 90 percent of this.


7. Showbiz. Ever read an article in Variety? It’ll make you want to plant landmines around the HOLLYWOOD sign. “Helmer Gert Villemut agrees to a first-look deal with indie house ARTichoke!!! to develop oater penned by scribe Ernie Titmoose.” I would rather read the transaction feed of a pro darts league.

8. Finance. Crypto (GUHHHHH) has only made an insufferable genre of bro-speak even worse. I am like any other innately douchey white boy from the Northeast who gets a little jolt from being “BULLISH” on latex fuck doll stock, but if you’ve ever watched CNBC you know how madly in love these scumbags are with their own dorky terms as they speculate over some scammy mutual fund that will drain your father’s pension dry by 2024.


9. Cars. The reason I’m prone to getting ripped off by any mechanic is that they will throw gearhead terms at me for 30 seconds and that’s enough to get me to sign off on any estimate just so that I can get out of listening.

10. Medicine. We are now in the realm of professional jargon that I actively enjoy and pretend to have full mastery of. This is because I have watched too much prime time network TV in my life. TREAT THIS MAN WITH INTERFERON STAT.


11. Military. So cool. I wanna hang out in a big tent and pore over maps with my reporting officers. “Sergeant we need to establish a bivouac on the bulkhead or else Fritz will hit us a whole damn shitload of ordnance up the ass! Ruck up your men so we can go tear those Germans a new krauthole!” I assume I got all the terminology there correct.



What’s the best way to put away groceries? When returning from the grocery store, I prefer to unload all the grocery bags first so that 1. I can take stock in all the good stuff I bought 2. Sort everything and then 3. Put things away strategically. My wife demands that we put the items away bag by bag as frantically as possible, even if it means we are opening the fridge 50 times. She claims that my technique is lazy and is intended to force her to do all of the putting away.


Obviously, the priority is to put away the freezer crap first because you don’t want the waffles to go bad. Ever make a grocery run and then make a second errand while the freezer items are still in the back of the car? I feel like I’m trying to outrun a ticking bomb. I LIVE FOR THE DANGER. My God, what if the French fries defrost? What then? We’ll all DIE.

After getting the freezer crap squared away, I move to the fridge items. Do I arrange the fridge shelves in a way that pleases my spouse? Reader, I do not. I just jam that shit in there and my wife gives me The Look before moving the milk so that it’s not resting on top of a pack of raw chicken.


After the fridge stuff, I lay out all the pantry items, and then I either put them away or I just walk away like a lazy asshole and put it off till later. They’re canned goods. They can’t go bad. Let them have a bit of daylight before they face confinement next to a year-old jar of apple sauce in the dark.

Now that is the PLAN for unloading groceries, but the truth is that I am bad about following it. Sometimes I unload all the bags before putting shit away. Sometimes I happen upon a pint of ice cream and RUSH it to the freezer, like it’s a donated heart ready for transplant. Sometimes—always, really—I tear open a new bag of chips and go to town while the rest of the groceries languish on the counter. I can load grocery bags like a pro, with the eggs and berries getting their own bag for delicates, etc. But when it comes to unloading, I am haphazard and often slave to my own gluttonous impulses. NEW FOOD! GIVE ME ALL THE NEW FOOD!


Anyway, to answer your question, you are probably right but it ain’t worth fighting over. Let her unload bags like a crazy person and enjoy a fistful of sliced turkey while she lets the fridge die.


How old is the youngest “Gary”? I can’t imagine anyone after 1980 naming a baby Gary.



Anyway, you’re wrong. There are still babies out there being named Gary. None of them are mine due to the fact that it would rhyme with my last name (this also ruling out Larry Magary, Harry Magary, Barry Magary, Sherry Magary, Admiral Peary Magary, Kerry Magary, Coastal Estuary Magary, etc.). But the Social Security website has Gary listed as the 605th most popular baby name. That’s down from its peak in 1940 at No. 14, but still not absolute zero. Somewhere out there is a little baby Gary, likely already developing a healthy paunch and wispy goatee. You have my support, tiny baby Gary. Go out there, get your plumbing degree, and go conquer the world.



What is the difference between a bun and a roll? Can a roll become a bun, and vice versa? If so, how?


Eh, who the fuck knows. I tend to think of rolls as round, like Kaiser rolls, but that discounts pretzel rolls, crescent rolls, Tootsie Rolls, and other oblong edibles. I guess a roll is a piece of bread you can opt to eat on its own, whereas you HAVE to put something in a bun. Eating a hot dog bun on its own makes you a freak. Although I guess you can eat a cinnamon bun on its own, huh. Maybe a bun is sweeter? GOD DAMMIT NO MORE QUESTIONS LIKE THIS.


What’s your take on including an original track on a Greatest Hits album? Part of me enjoys it but part of me always thought it was a con to get fans who probably already own all of the tracks on their respective albums to think they need the new one to keep their catalog complete.


Well that’s part of the pitch, sure. But that new song is also basically an ad for the collection. They gotta have an ancillary single so that they can get into the radio rotation, so that Gopher & The Dingo can be like, “That was the new track off of Dishwalla’s Greatest Hits album, out now!”

I don’t mind the hustle, frankly. These poor artists don’t make any money from album sales anymore. Also, a lot of bonus singles from greatest hits collections are actually good. Who among us doesn’t enjoy “Primal Scream” from Mötley Crüe’s Decade of Decadence? WHO, I ASK YOU?!



Well I like it. Big jerks. By the way, if a band is feeling really lazy, they’ll just tack a cover or a live track onto the collection. That’s when you know they’re trying to check the last box on a contractual obligation. “Oooooh, it’s an eight-minute samba remix of “Every Breath You Take”! That seems necessary!”




How many quarterbacks do you think have been ruined by coaches? As in, they would have been good, but coaches tried to force them into a system that didn’t fit them, or some other thing? How many reverse Tom Bradys have we seen without knowing it?


Probably a decent amount. There’s a reason we make so many Jeff Fisher jokes at this website, you know. I know there are plenty of bitter old fogies out there who piss and moan that they could have been stars if some dickbag coach hadn’t held them back. You shouldn’t ever believe that horseshit, but we DID just sit through an entire NFL season in which Colin Kaepernick was shunned for purely political reasons, and he ain’t the first player to get a raw deal.

Office politics are a part of football just as they are the rest of the working world. Coaches are often lunkheaded idiots who favor players because they fit into a certain shitty offensive scheme or because they saw a guy show up at the facility to do box jumps at 3:30 a.m. Of course these beefheads are prone to mismanaging the roster and failing to properly cultivate talent. It happens everywhere. The NFL isn’t magically exempt. One reason the quality of NFL play was substandard this regular season was because the quality of the coaching ALSO sucked. There’s nothing a coach loves more than to take a talented player and be like, “Let me teach you to be a completely different player.”


Before the NFC title game, ESPN re-aired an Gruden QB Camp segment with Case Keenum, back when he was a draft prospect (he went undrafted). And Gruden, very much in his element, beamed at Keenum and was like, “It only takes one coach to give you a chance! ONE COACH!” And I don’t think Gruden grasped how damning it was to tell Keenum his future would essentially be predicated upon the fickle whims of some talking thumb of a head coach.

I’m aware this is a two-way street. There are plenty of burnout players who have mostly themselves to blame, and there are dudes like Keenum who have SOME ability but perhaps not quite enough to fully invest in. But yeah, NFL coaches have almost certainly left a good amount of talent on the cutting room floor. Do any of you think Carson Wentz would have had the same success in Cleveland as he’s had in Philly? LOL of course not. Hue Jackson would have had him run plays while standing on his head or some shit.



How does the same state vote for seemingly normal and boring Tim Pawlenty, batshit crazy Michelle Bachmann, pre-creeper celebrity Al Franken, and Jesse Ventura all within 20 years? None of these people have anything in common, yet, to varying degrees, they have become nationally relevant.


It’s mostly because Minnesotans love Minnesotans, regardless of political affiliations or general sanity. All you gotta do is slap MINNESOTA’S OWN LARS HANSSSEN! on a placard and you’re gonna get support.

But look, man. You live in a country that voted Barack Obama back into office and then voted in Donald Fucking Trump four years later. Voters, in general, are deranged assholes. You’d have better luck trying to get through to a fucking dog than some swing-voting bingo parlor mainstay in the Iowa primary. This is a country of psychos.



Who was the first person to proclaim, “Bill Belichick takes away your best player / what your team does best?” We hear it every week from lots of people across multiple networks and media outlets. I actually think it’s been said for so long you could crunch some numbers on it.


Oh Phil Simms is the culprit, for sure. He played with Belichick. He presided over hundreds nationally televised Pats games. Simms was definitely the first announcer to chirp out, “BEEL WEEL take away yer best plair!” Really fantastic insight the first 50,000 times I heard it. Oh, and did you know that Bill Belichick likes to defer when he wins the coin toss so that he can score at the end of the first half and then again to start the second? LITERALLY NO OTHER COACH HAS CONSIDERED THIS IDEA.

There are a lot of dumb coaches, and there are a great many reasons why Belichick is superior to all of them, but DURRRRRR HE WANTS TO TAKE AWAY YOUR PLAYMAKERS isn’t one of them. The dumb coaches want to do that too, you know. I’d much rather hear about the more subtle ways in which Belichick tries to gain a strategic edge, like how he slips razor blades into a wrapped mint and leaves it on the opposing QBs pillowcase. Now that’s a real difference maker. Instead I gotta hear some pegboy like Mike Lombardi crow, “See the thing about Belichick is… he’s not gonna play to lose.” Thanks, fuckhead.



Many years ago my wife referred to a football players’ helmet as a “hat”. Of course I ridiculed her to no end. However, over the past few seasons, I am hearing announcers use the term “hat” instead of “helmet” more and more. When in the hell did a football helmet become a hat, and how do I stop my wife from gloating?


I hate to break it to you, Mike, but “hat” is official football jargon and has been for a long time. Way back in high school, our coach would command us to take a knee and take our “hats” off so that he could yell at us about what a terrible practice we just had. Did I grip my hat by the face mask and hold it to the ground while this was going on, like I was gripping Excalibur as it lay in the stone? You know I did. Did I think it made me look cool, like some kind of chiseled marble football man statue? You know I did. Was I ever lectured not to sit on my hat because it was expensive? Again, you know the answer. Your helmet is a hat. Your helmet and shoulder pads together are “uppers.” And your football pants are WAR BRITCHES. Everyone knows this.


If Brady announces tomorrow that he is now immortal and plans on playing for the Pats forever, would you continue watching the NFL?


Sure. Look man, if brain injuries and crummy refs and crooked owners and endless game stoppages weren’t enough to deter me from this sport, Immortal Vampire Brady isn’t gonna stop me either. Besides, I would just wait for some enterprising DE to aim straight for his ankles.

By the way, I know Brady has publicly stated he can play until he’s 45 or whatever, but I actually think he thinks he can play even longer than that. He’s a big stupid idiot. He absolutely thinks he can drink stem cell blood and play until age 62. He has already set up all his personal side businesses to sell you on defying time. He’s gonna start openly talking about actual immortality VERY soon. It’ll probably be the end reveal of that shitty documentary he’s making. TOM VERSUS DEATH.



Pork fried rice is the best fried rice.

Okay sure that’s fair but I’m gonna tell you something you may not enjoy hearing. I like fried rice and I think it’s tasty. I’ve even eaten the hipster updates on it with pastrami and all kind of other weird shit. DELISH. I ain’t kicking that rice out of bed. But if it comes to it, I’m never ordering fried rice over a noodle dish. Noodles have the priority. I want a mound of noodles the size of Mons Olympus. Then I can have a spoonful of bacon fried rice as a kind of denouement to the whole affair. NO ONE DENIES THIS.



What would have to happen for HBO to cancel production of Game of Thrones, not postpone, actually cancel and wipe their hands clean without ever ending the series? I know the easy answer is nothing would get them to cancel the series, there are too many characters, but what if it came out that Jon Snow and Khelisi ran a human trafficking ring, or Peter Dinklage abducted a school bus of kids?


I think there would have to be a scandal that is so deeply embedded within the show that the name of the show itself becomes shorthand for murder or child porn or some other horrible thing. Like if, as you suggest, it came out that everyone involved in the show was abducting babies and selling them at the Davos conference to the highest bidder, that would probably sully the Game of Thrones brand beyond repair. Oh! Or what if the show routinely featured gratuitous scenes of incest, rape, and even incest rape! If I know that show’s audience, that would be VERY hard to come back from!


My job has recently switched to working remotely from home. So far it is going well. It sure is nice to now always have clean laundry, a decent dinner prepared, not deal with shitty commuters, and be able to poop in private (this last one is the best!). However, I’m afraid I may go all The Shining and my wife will find a google doc with “All work and no play makes Dan a dull boy” typed out a billion times. I have hobbies, older kids, and do stuff, but it’s almost exclusively in-house. Do you have any recommendations besides walk my dogs and tugging it silly to prevent my eventual Jack Torrance-ing?


Yeah, hit the gym at midday. Don’t spend ALL day in the house. Make a point of either taking a walk or a drive if you can. Even if you’re breaking up the day by going on a grocery run, it’ll still help stave off cabin fever and help you feel like an actual member of human society. I’ve worked from home for a few years now. At first it’s very weird and unnatural to not have anywhere to go, or co-workers to yak with. You feel off. But if you keep to a routine and make a point of breaking up your day with at least one bland excursion, you should adjust eventually. Not commuting rules, and not having to deal with annoying office people is even better.

Also, you gotta have a dedicated work space, like a separate office, etc. I know it sounds alluring to spend your work day in bed with a laptop, but will eventually begin to feel like you have tuberculosis. Get up, prepare for your workday like it’s a workday, report to your office, and commence wasting time. That’s how a pro telecommuter stays productive.


Email of the week!


I’m an avid reader and faithful Deadcast listener. I’m also a physician. Unfortunately, your weird, half-assed, poorly-researched anti-vax post on 1/9 put those at odds with each other. I wasn’t going to write you about it, but this is one of the worst flu years in a while and I’ve seen the devastation first hand.

A colleague recently admitted two young, otherwise healthy women to the hospital for the respiratory symptoms and a positive influenza test. The one who received the vaccine still got the flu, yes, but she has been discharged home without a problem. The other, who did not receive the flu shot prior to becoming sick, is still on a ventilator and fighting for her life.

This shit happens every year.

I’m hoping that you can use your platform to get the actual information out:

-The 10% number is bunk; >80% of viral strains in the US are covered by the vaccine this year. 80!

-Some people (not you, but other dummies) have wrote that it only works on 32% of the population; that was true for Australia. Last year.

-Here is a link (citing data in the attached PDF) for you

People literally die because they don’t get the flu vaccine, sometimes because the vaccine makes the actual infection less severe (but my wife still got the flu! derp!)

I long for the days of being able to read your fiery takes and nodding in approval without a voice in the back of my mind saying “yeah, but he’s basically Jenny McCarthy’s half-brother with bad shirts.” Please make this right. Happy to answer whatever questions you have.



Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.