Wednesday, 11 March 2015


Spurious, specious and meretricious

Recently I wrote –
I am long weary of the second-rate and self-righteous, the spurious, the specious and the meretricious (both people and ideas), and that these are still taken seriously and suck up so much wealth to fund the damage that they do.
I was thinking about public services that I have known over nearly fifty years, so often less than a service and the very opposite of public. They have included school education and special education, child care, juvenile justice, community care, health and 'mental health', rehabilitation for disability, higher education and research. Such sweeping generalisation cannot of course cannot apply to every nook and cranny of the public service and most certainly does not deny that the public-service workforce is staffed by many quite extraordinary people applying amazing personal qualities quite beyond the call of duty. To laud their dedicated and talented labour does not mean that their concern and what they do may not be overwhelmed by what is usually referred to as 'the system',and its less adequate denizens, nor that would-be beneficiaries are receiving all that they ought.

What has gone wrong? What can one do about it? Who knows? Certainly not myself.

Perhaps one small contribution might be for more people to treat many of the claims and actual products of the system to rather more healthy, public disrespect. Above I used three (highly respectable) words that might be called upon more frequently when speaking of professional, official and political concepts and services, and the people and institutions behind them.

spurious not being what it purports to be, false or fake

specious superficially plausible, but actually wrong

meretricious apparently attractive but having no real value

Not actually synonyms, together they do seem to cover so many oft-met contingencies...

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