Although cruelty seems to be the hallmark of this century (or maybe we’ve just become more aware of it) it is increasingly avoided in communications, both oral and written. We have become abusers of euphemisms (hope I’m spelling it right). Euphemisms are, shall we say, nicer ways to describe things. For example, “senior citizens” is a nicer way of saying old fogeys, oldsters, geezers -you get my drift.
Doesn’t “pre-owned” sound better than “used car”?
“Facial Tissues” , instead of “toilet paper”, (do people really use it on their faces?)
“Native Americans” sure beats “redskins”, Indians (or Commanders??). “Indians” perpetuates, of course, a 400 year old screwup where Columbus thought he had landed in India (or was he trying to make sure he got payed by the Spanish royal family. Didn’t they send him there, after all?).
On the other hand, do physicians prefer being called “providers”? All those years in med school to become a provider? You’ve got to be kidding! How about medications, wouldn’t we prefer taking drugs? (guess not….).
Back in the day, my XO called me a “mackeral snapper”, in reference to my (lapsed) Catholic faith. Now that we Catholics are the Masters of the Universe in this country, does it make any of this PC-incorrect? This was, of course, based on the Church’s prohibition against eating meat on Fridays. Has anybody priced fish lately?
Speaking of medical terms, do any of us undergo operations anymore? Does it hurt any less if they are termed “procedures”? When God calls us home, would we prefer a “Funeral Director” to an “Undertaker” to do the honors?
I wonder how many Russian citizens are comforted by Putin’s use of “Special Military Operation” instead of “invasion” or “war” to describe what is going down in Ukraine. How about Special Military Procedure?
I remember being a child buying clothes. Overweight kids were fitted with stuff called “husky”. Sounded better than fat. The Internet has, of course, launched a phenomenon known as “fat shaming”, targeted mostly at girls. Sort of reverse euphemism.
Also from childhood, if you couldn’t cut it academically, you were “left back”. No more. If you’re not granted a ‘social promotion”, you are “retained”. Growing up is painful enough; some governors don’t want kids ever to feel inadequate. Maybe we need to burn more library books.
While we’re asking, what does “premium” mean, anyway? We have premium gas, premium cable channels, premium cellphone plans (don’t you love the Ted Danson piece on Consumer Cellular). I strongly suspect it just means “more pricey” (by the way I don’t believe the ad, either).
Last, but not least, so to speak, the word “upscale”. Conjurs up images of more luxurious, enhanced, better than average – also usually means more expensive.
Just a few examples. Don’t you feel better already?