Over at the Do Some Damage blogspot today, Joelle Charbonneau noted that with the rise of self-published e-books, the authors of those books have taken to calling themselves “independently published”. Apparently, “self-published” is too stigmatizing or too…whatever, I don’t know.
Anyway, that’s their new alias: “independently published”.
This got me to thinking about the euphemism-driven, politically correct society we live in. You know we’re in trouble when writers can’t even tell it like it is.
For some reason, people think that their little self-esteem is somehow tamped down by a far more realistic and descriptive term, so they feel the urge to create a euphemism that will make them feel better about themselves. This goes not only for the usual victim groups, but certain activities perpetrated by other people.
I remember one of the first ones I heard was “physically challenged” replacing “handicapped”. That one really caught on, so after that, the “challenged” label was prefixed by everything from “mentally” to “follically”.
By the way, I think “physically challenged” itself has now been replaced by the warmer and much fuzzier “differently abled”. Ahhh, I feel better already.
Other similarly ridiculous examples include:
Fat people became “amply proportioned”.
Pornography became “adult entertainment”.
Civilian casualties in war became “collateral damage”.
A missile attack that takes out an entire city block became a “surgical strike”.
Winos became “homeless people”.
Lies became “categorical inaccuracies”.
Genocide became “ethnic cleansing”.
Indians became “native Americans”.
Illegal aliens became “undocumented workers”, or if they’re not working, “undocumented guests”.
Hookers became “comfort women” or even “relaxation therapists”.
Used cars became “preowned vehicles”.
Barf bag became “motion discomfort receptacle”.
Out-of-work people are “between jobs”.
Murder, of course, has long been “liquidate”.
Underdeveloped countries became “developing” countries.
The extermination of European Jews became “the final solution”.
The huge block of ice in the North Atlantic became “Greenland”.
The War on Terror became “overseas contingency operations”.
Terrorist attacks themselves became “manmade disasters”.
What’s next? Rape victims becoming “involuntary sperm recipients”?