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By the way, I think “physically challenged” itself has now been replaced by the warmer and much fuzzier “differently abled”.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”?

Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. What a great post. I’m beyong flattered that I inspired it. My husband and I are now attempting to come up with others to add to the list:)

  2. Mike Dennis

    You did indeed inspire it, Joelle. Keep ’em coming. I need all the material I can get.

  3. Joyce Ann

    So, was it Hillary or “Bambi” (as someone close to me refers to the President) who decided to use “manmade disaster” to detract from discssion of the”War on Terrorism” (Not to be confused with the “Reign of Terror.”)
    And, was anyone else old enough (besides me and this other person) to catch the Jimi Hendrix reference in B’s comment before the “Teachers’ Union” about “everyone talking about him like he was a dog”? What song was that phrase from? How old was he when the song was on a playlist? Is all of this out there on some conservative blog, and I am just now hearing about it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *