Tuesday, March 14, 2006

FDR: Great man, Dejargonator

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of the inspirations for the Dejargonator project. The original memo from his office read:
Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal and non-Federal buildings occupied by the Federal Government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination. Such obscuration may be obtained either by black-out construction or by termination of the illumination.

FDR dejargonated:
"Tell them that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something over the windows; and, in buildings where they can let the work stop for a while, turn out the lights."

FDR wasn't interested in impressing people by the use of "internal or external illumination" and "obscuration." He realized that the most important thing was that he was understood. The result was that he became one of the most loved presidents in history.