It has been brought to my attention that some unnamed (and possibly fictional, but never mind that) They have decreed that the term ‘brainstorm’ should no longer be used, as it may cause offence to people with epilepsy.
Now, using the word ‘brainstorm’ is almost as an unpleasant experience as having to sit through – sorry, taking a pro-active part in – one of the bloody things, but even so I think it’s a decent enough name for the process of coming up with a lot of ideas of indeterminate quality in a group. Although, like ‘smear test’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘ITV comedy drama’, you can accept the term while shuddering at the prospect of what it denotes.
The suggested alternative is ‘thought-shower’.
Go on, say it out loud. See how it feels. Use it in a sentence, if you dare. “Mr Dalliard, we’ve got to get going to the departmental thought-shower in a few minutes!”
I’m almost tempted to use ‘head spasm’ instead, just to really piss off anyone who thinks a ‘brainstorm’ causes any more discomfort to people with epilepsy than it does to those without.
Thought-shower. Utterly appalling. It conjures up images of a group of American women bringing presents round to a party for one of their friends on the occasion of her having had an idea, and at the same time it ominously yet drably connotes a deviant sexual practice in which one partner cogitates all over the other for their mutual perverted pleasure.
But, of course, the real, killer objection is that it itself is offensive (and not just to those of us who foam in horror at corporate bullshit). The word ‘shower’ is likely to cause offence to ineffectual groups of people, and ‘thought’ to those who have never had an original one in their gurning little lives.