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Thread: Euphemisms-things Have Gotten So Bad....

  1. #1
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Here is a recent column by John Leo, one of my favorites; it's about how language and words are abused in the name of ambiguity.

    By John Leo 2/23/04

    "Wardrobe malfunction" is of course the euphemism of the year, a staggering achievement in language distortion. But there are many worthy contenders for silver and bronze medals in the language-debasing competition.

    Some medical euphemisms now appear in the fine print of your staggeringly large hospital bill. You may see charges for "disposable mucus recovery systems" (Kleenex), "thermal therapy" (a bag of ice) and an "oral administration fee" (the charge for handing you a pill in a paper cup). A dose of three pills, though delivered in a single paper cup, may require three separate oral administration fees.

    How about these terms for firing workers: "facility and cost rationalizations," "dehiring," "normal involuntary attrition," and "negative employee retention." When a state agency lays off workers for some times, without pay, it calls this practice "furloughing."

    In its science teaching standards, the state of Georgia changed the word "evolution" to "biological changes over time," then backtracked to "evolution" when protests arose.

    The Bush administration contributed "temporary steel safeguard measures" (tariffs), "healthy forests" (more logging) plus "earned legalization," "regularization" and "normalization" (amnesty for illegal immigrants--sorry, undocumented workers). Did the Agriculture department announce frankly that it ordered the killing of 450 cattle because of mad cow disease? Of course not. The announcement said it had decided to depopulate the bull calf operation in Mabton, Washington. The department was just negatively retaining some cows. Or maybe placing them on permanent furlough.

    Other political euphemisms include "managed" or "fair" trade (protectionism) and "sustainable utlization" a comforting term for despoiling the environment while claiming that there's really nothing to worry about. The term has been used to cover overzealous mining and foresting, as well as the trophy killing of big-game animals in Africa. On safari, you might call out, "Look dear, you sustainably utilized that rhino!"

    Remember the under-the-table funds that went to members of the International Olympics Committee members when Salt Lake City was picked as an Olympic site? They weren't bribes, said long-time IOC member Dick Pound of Canada. They were "payments, I think, to encourage good feelings about Salt Lake."

    Harvard academic Martin Feldstein told the economics conference in Davos last month that he doens't like the terms "weak dollar" and "strong dollar." Well, then how is the dollar doing? Next year it will be in a more competitive position, Feldman said, weakly.

    At St. Mary's Catholic Church in South Brisbane, the priests are apparently no longer priests. Thye are "mass presiders," a term popping up here and there in other countries as well. "Body bags" (Vietnam war) and "human remains pouches" (the Gulf War) are now "transfer tubes" in Iraq, a term (like "choice" for abortion) that sucessfully eliminates any hint that death might be involved.

    The British have a new word for military retreat, "exfiltration." This is not a great euphemism, but it sounds lots better than "running away."

    China's economic expansion under stern one-party rule gave rise to several euphemisms, including "cloaked capitalism" and "soft Leninism." Why not "totalitarian freedom"?

    Many gas stations have figured out that if you decide to charge more for credit card purchases, you can always describe the increase as a discount for those who pay cash. Several takeout restaurants in Australia now advertize a 10 percent discount if you pick up the food yourself. This means that a 10 percent change has been added for all deliveries.

    Kansas City is establishing a "compassion zone" for homeless people just outside the downtown freeway loop. This is an upbeat way of announcing that the downtown area and most of the rest of the city are now compassion-free zones from which vagrants and homeless people will be expelled. Many universities use the same trick to control free speech on campus. They announce small "free-speech zones," thus establishing 99 percent of their campuses as places where speeches and protests are forbidden.

    "War on terror" is a widely overlooked eupehemism. "Terror" isn't a party to the war, but militant Islam is. Reuters famously refuses to call terrorists "terrorists" because the news service thinks it's a subjective term. The BBC says its reporters may not call Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Staffers must refer to him as "the deposed former president." No word yet on whether Hitler can be called a dictator. Oops. That sounds way too subjective. Make that "the former legally selected leader of the Third Reich." Whatever.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Beautiful.

    Whatever that means these days.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Originally posted by clocker@2 March 2004 - 02:33
    Beautiful.

    Whatever that means these days.
    Good morning.

    Just about time for bed.

    Any news?
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    Busyman's Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!!!
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    Bush wants to classify fast food workers as food manufacturers.
    Silly bitch, your weapons cannot harm me. Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, Bitchhhh!

    Flies Like An Arrow, Flies Like An Apple
    ---12323---4552-----
    2133--STRENGTH--8310
    344---5--5301---3232

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Originally posted by Busyman@2 March 2004 - 02:42
    Bush wants to classify fast food workers as food manufacturers.
    Evil Republicans!!
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    Haha, there were some gret ones in there. Loved "exfiltrating" especially, along with "totalitarian freedom" and "compassion zone".

    But why are we getting into such a moddy-coddle with our words and phrases? We should just call a spade a manual earth excatvation implement. Sorry, spade.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    The BBC says its reporters may not call Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Staffers must refer to him as "the deposed former president
    Doesnt this guy check his facts? I've heard Saddam referred to as a dictator many times on BBC news. While I agree with the authors sentiments, it does make me wonder how many of his examples are also... shall we say.. factually challenged?


    Originally posted by BBC

    Saddam Hussein profile


    Saddam Hussein insists that the Gulf War was a victory for Iraq

    By Middle East analyst Gerald Butt
    Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq for the past two decades, has the dubious distinction of being the world's best known and most hated Arab leader.

    And in a region where despotic rule is the norm, he is more feared by his own people than any other head of state.

    A former Iraqi diplomat living in exile summed up Saddam's rule in one sentence: "Saddam is a dictator who is ready to sacrifice his country, just so long as he can remain on his throne in Baghdad." Few Iraqis would disagree with this. Although none living in Iraq would dare to say so publicly.

    The Iraqi people are forced to consume a daily diet of triumphalist slogans, fattened by fawning praise of the president.


    The Iraqi leader stares down on his citizens
    He is portrayed as a valiant knight leading the Arabs into battle against the infidel, or as an eighth-century caliph who founded the city of Baghdad. Evoking the glory of Arab history, Saddam claims to be leading his people to new glory.

    The reality looks very different. Iraq is bankrupt, its economy and infrastructure shattered by years of economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations following the invasion of Kuwait.

    Saddam Hussein remains largely isolated from his people, keeping the company of a diminishing circle of trusted advisers - largely drawn from his close family or from the extended clan based around the town of Takrit, north of Baghdad.

    The path to power

    The Iraqi president was born in a village just outside Takrit in April 1937. In his teenage years, he immersed himself in the anti-British and anti-Western atmosphere of the day. At college in Baghdad he joined the Baath party.

    After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958, Saddam connived in a plot to kill the prime minister, Abdel-Karim Qassem. But the conspiracy was discovered, and Saddam fled the country.

    In 1963, with the Baath party in control in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein returned home and began jostling for a position of influence. During this period he married his cousin Sajida. They later had two sons and three daughters.


    Appearing on New Year's day 2001
    But within months, the Baath party had been overthrown and he was jailed, remaining there until the party returned to power in a coup in July 1968. Showing ruthless determination that was to become a hallmark of his leadership, Saddam Hussein gained a position on the ruling Revolutionary Command Council.

    For years he was the power behind the ailing figure of the president, Ahmed Hassan Bakr. In 1979, he achieved his ambition of becoming head of state. The new president started as he intended to go on - putting to death dozens of his rivals.

    Holding together a disparate nation

    President Saddam Hussein might defend his autocratic style of leadership by arguing that nothing else could have kept such a vast and diverse nation united.

    And, for all that Saddam Hussein is criticised and reviled, his opponents have not been able to nominate anyone else who might hold Iraq together - with its Kurds in the north, Sunni Muslims in the centre and Shi'ia in the south. What the outside world calls terror, Saddam calls expediency.


    The Kurds were persecuted by the Iraqi regime
    Some years ago a European interviewer nervously quoted reports that the Baghdad authorities might, on occasions, have tortured and perhaps even killed opponents of the regime.

    Was this true? Saddam Hussein was not offended. Rather, he seemed surprised by the naivete of the question. "Of course," he replied. "What do you expect if they oppose the regime?"

    But his tactic of imposing his authority by terror has gone far beyond the occasional arrest and execution of opponents. In attempts to suppress the Kurds, for example, he has systematically used chemical weapons. And in putting down a rebellion of Shi'ia in the south he has razed towns to the ground and drained marshland.

    Not that you would recognise the figure of a tyrant in the portraits that adorn every building and street corner in Iraq.

    Here you see Saddam, usually smiling benevolently, in a variety of guises and poses - in military uniform, say, or in traditional ethnic dress, or tweed cap and sports jacket; he might be surrounded by his family or be seen jiggling a young child on his knee - the would-be father-figure of the Iraqi nation.

    A question of judgement

    The fiction of Saddam Hussein as a benevolent ruler was exposed by two major and catastrophic miscalculations of foreign policy for which his country and his people have paid dearly.


    His son was Uday was injured in an attack
    In 1980, Saddam thought he saw an opportunity for glory - to put Iraq at the forefront of the Arab world. He ordered a surprise cross-border attack on Iran. This was meant to be a swift operation to capture the Shatt al-Arab waterway leading to the Gulf.

    But Iranian resistance was far stronger than he had imagined. Eight years later, with hundreds of thousands of young people killed and the country deep in debt, he agreed on a ceasefire.

    Still, with enormous oil reserves, Iraq seemed to have the potential to make a swift recovery. An increase in oil prices, Saddam Hussein surmised, would speed up the country's revival still more.

    Frustrated by his failure to achieve agreement on a price rise by conventional means, the Iraqi president allowed his long-harboured resentment against Kuwait to get the better of him.

    On 2 August 1990, he made another costly blunder by ordering his army into the neighbouring Gulf state.

    Fighting qualities

    In the months that led up to the war of 1991, Saddam Hussein displayed qualities that still make him both adored and hated in the Arab world.

    On the streets of Arab cities he is admired as a leader who has dared to defy and challenge Israel and the West, a symbol of Arab steadfastness in the face of Western aggression.

    At the same time, Saddam is feared as a vicious dictator who threatens the security of the Gulf region as a whole.

    With his older and favourite son Uday crippled in an assassination attempt, his younger son Qusay now controls the elite Revolutionary Guards and the Special Forces which guarantee the president's grip on power.

    Gulf states and Western countries alike have come to realise that his grip is stronger than it seems - and stronger by far than his grasp of reality often appears to be.

    He insists that the 1991 Gulf War, which he famously described as the Mother-of-All-Battles, ended in victory for Iraq.

    By the same token, Saddam boasts that Iraq can shrug off any Western military attack. The Iraqi people have no choice but to nod in agreement.

    So it will go on until the moment comes for bombastic slogans to be replaced by a succinct epitaph to one of the most infamous dictators of the century. For the overwhelming majority of Iraqis, that moment can not come too soon.
    source

    and another one after he was deposed.....

    Dictator's relative denied asylum

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    also see george orwell's 1984 re: "newspeak." i think that article is a complaint against essentially the type of thing that orwell predicted-- bureaucratic manipulation of the language, in turn enforced by the increasingly omnipresent mass media.

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Originally posted by 3RA1N1AC@2 March 2004 - 07:15
    also see george orwell's 1984 re: "newspeak." i think that article is a complaint against essentially the type of thing that orwell predicted-- bureaucratic manipulation of the language, in turn enforced by the increasingly omnipresent mass media.
    I knew I could count on you to get it, 3RA1N1AC.

    Others are not so intuitive.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
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    You want to see my rent account i dont know wether im in credit or debit so tech'
    my son (in university UK ) says i'm in credit and explained to me still no wiser
    Man U fer eva

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