Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday's Word(s): What You May Utter

Usually by this time I've stumbled across a new word or two to use for Monday's post. But this week no word appeared on the horizon, so I was going to fiddle with two words which have been going through my mind: imbroglio and brouhaha.

However, they will have to wait, as the word(s) just arrived on Gates of Vienna from Jason Pappas. Mr. Pappas says this about certain set phrases that are bandied about in the public square:

“FAR right” is, of course, a code phrase. Here’s a few more:

“Inclusion” (Keep in step and toe the party line!)
“Diversity” (only one way of thinking allowed)
“Affirmative action” (our kind of racism)
“Go it alone” (fight a war without France)
“Exceptionalist” (knows Western culture is better than a mud hut)
“Environmentally friendly” (a mud hut)
“Social justice” (antiquated phrase before animal rights and the environment but sounds good)
This is a fine list, but there must be many, many more and I'll bet some of your favorites are not included here, especially if you work in government or education (which have become more or less the same thing of late).

If you have special pet phrases (no slogans, please. "Bush lied, people died, brains fried" is rather old), please leave them in the comments.

My introduction to Words From the Left, designed by proto-Marxists, happened more than twenty years ago. It was then that I first saw the phrase "politically incorrect" on a button adorning Wally Ballou's shirt. It fascinated me. Since the occasion was a Hallowe'en party, I thought perhaps it was part of a costume. And, of course, he lived in the big city so he was up on such things. I, from the country, had no idea what his button meant. And even after he told me, I found the idea outlandish. Surely such a phenomenon couldn't last?

Unfortunately, W. B. was merely ahead of the times. But not by much.

Here, from Global Language Monitor are some of my favorites of their picks for 2005:

Thought Shower or Word Shower substituting for brainstorm so as not to offend those with brain disorders such as epilepsy.

Out of the Mainstream when used to describe the ideology of any political opponent: At one time slavery was in the mainstream, thinking the sun orbited the earth was in the mainstream, having your blood sucked out by leeches was in the mainstream. What's so great about being in the mainstream?

Deferred Success as a euphemism for the word fail. The Professional Association of Teachers in the UK considered a proposal to replace any notion of failure with deferred success in order to bolster students self-esteem.
I suppose the most egregious term is "militant" instead of "terrorist." But then the BBC hasn't been in the mainstream for a long, long time. Not my mainstream, anyway.

Have a go, the way, "mate" is now beyond the pale, too. Soon we will all be reduced to barking out the Indo-European roots of the words we were once allowed to say...oops. Indo-European is rather elitist, isn't it?


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