Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Economist on Euphemism

The economist has an amusing article on those things people say but what they really mean.

"American euphemisms are in a class of their own, principally because they seem to involve words that few would find offensive to start with, replaced by phrases that are meaninglessly ambiguous: bathroom tissue for lavatory paper, dental appliances for false teeth, previously owned rather than used, wellness centres for hospitals, which conduct procedures not operations. As the late George Carlin, an American comedian, noted, people used to get old and die. Now they become first preelderly, then senior citizens and pass away in a terminal episode or (if doctors botch their treatment) after a therapeutic misadventure. These bespeak a national yearning for perfection, bodily and otherwise."

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