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October 27, 2003

Everybody plays B*llsh*t Bingo
Posted by Teresa at 01:18 AM *

It’s become a trope. Still, it’s interesting, because it gets people to record the buzzwords of a particular place, time, and context. Here are some specimens:

One version of default mainstream BSB, and a different version.

Mormon BSB.

Some thoughts on BSB from the Sacred Heart Parish.

UN employee BSB.

Malaspina College BSB (scroll down).

Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting BSB.

XP developer BSB.

Hipster BSB. I think.
I’d like to think that some future historians will find them invaluable.
Comments on Everybody plays B*llsh*t Bingo:
#2 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 03:34 AM:

Right. So who's gonna take a stab at, oh, Publishing House BSB? Or SMOF BSB? (I'm so tempted by that latter, but I shall be strong....)


#3 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 03:45 AM:

I've seen roadkill bingo cards for long car trips, but these raise things to an entirely new level. Mary Kay, I would dearly love to see both of those you suggest.
T (or anybody else who knows), what does "be like Boyd" mean on the Mormon site?

#4 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 03:48 AM:

The hipster version would be very easy to do any given day in my neighborhood. Do you get an extra prize if you fill the whole card?

#5 ::: Joy Ralph ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 08:30 AM:

I'll hazard a guess that be like Boyd refers to Boyd K. Packer, but beyond that you'll probably have to ask a refugee with a y chromosome.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 08:45 AM:

Boyd K. Packer it is, the most pinch-mouthed intolerant authoritarian official in the topmost ranks of Mormon church leadership. Think of him as the Mormon answer to Cardinal Ratzinger.

He's also a major heretic, in my opinion.

Robert, you might get an extra prize, but darned if I can imagine what it might be.

I'm not sure I could do an entire publishing house version, but I suspect that jointly accounted, category manager, ordering to previous net, clean sell-through, and breakout book would appear in it.

#7 ::: jkr ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 09:36 AM:

Reminds me of a help-wanted ad I saw not too long ago, which contained the sentence: "The nursing profession is the methodology utilized to facilitate the achievement of patient outcomes." Is that a Bingo in one sentence?

#8 ::: Adam ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 10:46 AM:

My company's company briefing (4 hours of numbers and charts and "we're doing great and there are many new exciting ventures and directions that we'll be going but by the way we're a bit strapped for cash so no raises or bonuses") is today. This'll come in handy.

#9 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 11:12 AM:

For filling your entire Hipster Bingo card?

A large mochaccino. Oh, excuse me—a venti mochaccino.

Or, if you're playing in the championships, an iPod.

#10 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 11:30 AM:

Law school students have gunner bingo. As you know Bob, gunners are the hands in the air, "oooh oooh pick me," in love with their own voices types. In large classes with multiple gunners, you made a bingo card with their names, and if you won, you had to work the word "bingo" into the class discussion.

My distraction for tedious gunner-filled classes was drafting booklog posts, so I never played, but I believe that's the idea.

#11 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 01:13 PM:

How about Back-Cover Blurb Bingo? "Destined to become a classic94...

#12 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 01:18 PM:

Oh, can I offer one from textbook publishing? Fifth plate black, aka Texas Plate.

#13 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 02:44 PM:

Publishing BSB:

"It's X meets Y"
"In the tradition of..."
"Like X, but with/without Y."
"high hopes"

For Back-Cover Blurb Bingo, I refer you to Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman's "Ghastly Beyond Belief". "Will he save the world-- or destroy it?" goes in the center square.

#14 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 03:38 PM:

I've been trying to make a conrunner's BS bingo card, but I keep putting "Ghost" in the center, and it all breaks down from there.

Besides, there's difference between being simply wrong, which all of us are at times, and active bullshit. "one day memberships!" is probably wrong. Being a (and I dearly wish I was making this up) "B2B ASP focusing on PPOs" is bullshit.

I think a valid game would be IIS hack bingo. Put up an IIS server, with a intrustion detection system so you can watch the attacks. Give out bingo cards with various attacks -- nicha, code red V.2, and so forth.

Call out the attacks, fill out the cards. Clever and bored sysadmin would write something to just light the attacks as the occur, so you don't have "nichia, again, again, again, hey, someone tried to run cmd.exe!"

Spam bingo would work to. "Penis Pills!" "419" "Norton Antivirus on Sale" "Mini RC Cars" "Bingo!"

#15 ::: Simon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2003, 07:29 PM:

Not all of the Bingo offerings seem to me to distinguish clearly between buzzwords (that is, the cant of the field) and jargon (that is, the technical terms and convenient shorthand of the field).

Playing Bingo with buzzwords seems a fair critique of speakers' fuzzy language; indeed I've more often seen the game called "Buzzword Bingo" than that other name. Playing it with jargon doesn't seem to me to be so fair.

#16 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 04:23 AM:

How about Quaker BSB? A completely blank 5x5 table. When it has been filled with the right sort of silences, you stand up and smile.

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 09:17 AM:

jkr, that description wasn't a joke? Not only does it require decoding, but when decoded it says less than "take care of patients and help them get well," since it doesn't specify whether the outcomes are good or bad.

Adam, sounds like the kind of meeting that makes you really sorry that knitting isn't allowed. I used to know a head of production who got through interminable sales conference hardcover presentations (not Tor's) by discreetly tucking a crossword puzzle into her working papers. If you couldn't see what she was working on, she looked like she was taking notes.

Julia, explain? That sounds interesting.

Glenn, most of those belong in cover-blurb BSB.

Erik: Add work at home, Miriam Abacha, toner cartridge, singles in your area, mortgage, lose weight, teen sluts, zero percent interest, and make money fast.

Simon, I'm not sure I can distinguish between my industry's jargon and its buzzwords. I could do you a good round of cover copy tropes, though -- epic, vast, blackly humorous, new voice, fast-moving adventure, unfold, gripping, intriguing, richly complex, or so [he/she/it/they] think[s], wants only to, but all is not as it seems, must choose, can only be [accomplished] by, will find [him/her/it]self thrust into, meanwhile, have plans of their own ... stop me now, this is making me queasy.

Andrew, I love it.

#18 ::: Simon ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 11:35 AM:

Teresa, don't forget "In the tradition of ..." which means "Resembling only superficially, and much poorer than ..." Extra points if the author referred to was originally published as in the tradition of somebody else.

A word in blurbs I have trouble with is "nearly." If any emphasis whatever is attached to this word, I find myself thinking "... who had NEARLY stood up to the Dragon of Angnor! Who had NEARLY fought the vicious Chicken of Bristol!"

#19 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 04:56 PM:

My favorite "in the tradition of" was on the paperback edition of Julian May's The Many-Colored Land: "In the tradition of Isaac Asimov and J. R. R. Tolkien!"

#20 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 08:51 PM:

Don't forget "makes Peyton Place look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm!" and its variants.

#21 ::: Elayne Riggs ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2003, 10:26 PM:

Way cool! I've never heard about this before.

#22 ::: Luke McGuff ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2003, 03:18 AM:

I did an "Art Walk Buzzword Bingo" a couple years ago, using a script to make the different pages. And Anita Rowland did a hipster bingo for the Seattle Cacophony Society in the dim dark days before the internet or scripts. By HAND.

#23 ::: lnh ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2003, 12:46 PM:

I use this BSB card myself, only its first B is buzzword.


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