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A Sunny Place for Shady People

Pithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.

Friday, September 05, 2003
Monday, September 08, 2003

Euphemism is a pretension that distorts, perverts, slants, and obscures. It is ultimately the enemy of truth.

Decent, honest writers avoid it.

Perhaps it's most unfortunately employed in futilely caressing the inevitability of death.

Examples abound:

* An awfully big adventure (Peter Pan).
* The Big Sleep (which follows its predecessor),
* The Big Casino (cancer).
* Checked, or cashed, out.
* Cross the Great Divide.
* Dreamless sleep (Byron).
* Go West.
* Great Leveler.
* Inevitable Hour (Thomas Gray).
* Negative Patient Care Outcome (winner of the Death Pool).
* Pay one's debt to Nature.
* That good night (Dylan Thomas).
* Undiscovered country (Hamlet).

Government nurtures euphemism, for its own pernicious reasons.

We recently noticed a memorandum dated May 14, 1993, from the U. S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, which is typical.

It discusses the official transition of the perfectly acceptable handicap (itself a euphemism) to the governmentalese of disability.

It goes even further: to stress the "individuality" of disability, by suggesting the verbose substitution "persons with a disability" in place of "disabled person."


And it prefers "people who are blind" or "people with visual impairment" instead of simply "the blind."

Well: the blind were not about to accept this insult with their canes folded, and attacked the reference, canes swinging.

The National Federation of the Blind thereupon passed Resolution 93-01, which denounced this usage as PC to "imply that the word person must invariably precede the word blind to emphasize the fact that a blind person is first and foremost a person."

The Resolution concludes that it's quite respectable (if not exactly an honor) to be blind, and the use of euphemisms to convey other images is deplorable.

In short, as the blind so accurately report, euphemism is prissy, ridiculous, tiresome -- and deceptive.

Help scuttle political correctness whenever and wherever it sails into the language.


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