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Saturday, December 22, 2012
a brief defense of the purpose and use of legalese
The purpose of legalese
is at the very least,
to see that these
from conflicting accepted senses
of regular words don't do you in. When
you write the contract, and you leave it
interpretable, before it even dries
the other side's ink overrides, in
whatever interpretable interpretation
the other side finds (and can justify)
that you left open to them. So: bang!
Jargon. Make up a word, or Capitalize.
Define it - either in-document, or by
reference to an external tradition, such as
statute, citation of case law or other
precedent, the Uniform Commercial Code
of the United States (for example) of America, and
is no longer interpretable.
This is the legitimate purpose of legalese.
The other purpose is of course, the one
we all decry: to pack a document chock
with as many of these weaponized, jargonized terms
as can be conveniently fit in, in an attempt
to burn, confound, buffalo or confuse those dupes
who either fear or don't get English, or can't
read, or don't have the use of a dictionary, or
are too stupid, or trusting, or unwilling, unable
to look up a reference, or for whatever who the fuck
knows excuse - don't want to go through to make sense
and fill in (for themselves), what each unknown thing -
in the document they are about to put their name to
These cases are sweet! Since the morons who write such
legalese - jamming so many in like jelly beans, candy!
- always, always leave several key terms defined
badly, or wrongly used, which then renders the language:
Which it ought to have been the whole point to avoid.
To the benefit of the one who did not write the shitty,
vague, interpretable language. To the benefit of the party
of the second part: me, generally.
But very easily you too! Consult your attorney!