Archive for the ‘Taboo language and slurs’ Category

Dubious disavowals?

August 22, 2014

It originally came to me through Chris Hansen on Facebook, in this remarkable two-part image:

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along with this story (by “Happy Gilmore”) from August 12th, reporting:

Welsh Fried Chicken Brand Defends Logo: Food Company defends its controversial new logo after customers complain about its phallic and unusual design reports Walesonline.co.uk

The owner of the Dirty Bird Brand has stated that the logo was just a unique way to change the “B” and the “D” look like a small rooster.

… The food company has also started using posters that state ” Touch My Thigh” and “Touch My Breasts” … Although, Dirty Bird owner Neil Young has backed his statements that these were not meant to be obscene.

Dirty Bird let http://www.metro.co.uk know that the images were in no way meant to upset their customers  … They wanted a fun way to portray a rooster. That’s all.

Those in doubt should check out the artists tumblr page – Mark James

Hmmm.

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queens

June 27, 2014

Yesterday I reported on Fortnum & Mason’s use of queen in an advert in support of Gay Pride: “Proud to be the queens’ grocer”, with the plural possessive of the common noun queen, rather than the singular possessive of the proper noun Queen. Not everyone is entirely comfortable with this use of queen, seeing it as an offensive and demeaning slur. But the import of words, even slurs and other problematic vocabulary, depends crucially on context — on who’s using them, in what circumstances, for what purposes. Given that, you can read F&M’s queens’ as affectionate, in fact celebratory.

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Sunday jottings

June 22, 2014

Four items from the front matter in today’s New York Times Magazine: the compound poolside memoirs; the euphemism go to Spain; the term binky ‘pacifier'; and citronella for warding off mosquitoes.

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Word art

June 3, 2014

Now at the Jewish Museum in New York (through September 21st), an exhibition of Mel Bochner‘s recent conceptual art. From the NYT on May 2nd, in “Secret Power of Synonyms: Mel Bochner Turns Up the Volume in ‘Strong Language’ ” by Ken Johnson:

Words have been the subjects and primary constituents of the enigmatic yet acerbically provocative paintings Mel Bochner has been creating over the past 12 years. “Mel Bochner: Strong Language,” an elegantly produced exhibition at the Jewish Museum, gives them their due and traces their roots back to text-based works that Mr. Bochner created in the ’60s and early ’70s, when he was one of New York’s pre-eminent Conceptual artists.

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Three diverse

May 21, 2014

This morning: a classic Doonesbury on foul language; a Rhymes With Orange citing the spurious “rule” that an English clause must not end in a preposition; and a Zippy looking back at an ad icon of the 1940s and 50s (“drink more flavored liqueurs”, says Judge Arrow).

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On the racism watch

April 30, 2014

The current flurries over Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling are rich veins of overt and coded racist language, explored at great length in the news. That provides me with an opening to post today’s Scenes From a Multiverse, entitled “Racism 2.0″ (you’ll notice that I’ve been experiencing an avalanche of recent cartoons of linguistic interest; sometimes they come in clumps or waves):

And the Hispanics / Latinos. And the Arabs / Muslims. And…

jerk-off

April 29, 2014

From several sources recently, reports of the Great Northern Jerk-Off. No, nothing to do with masturbation; jerk-off here refers to a competition — like bake-off, a competition in food. (more…)

Dingburg bubbles

April 29, 2014

Today’s Zippy:

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Fleer’s product was pink (hence the strip’s title, “In the pink”), apparently because that was the only coloring the inventor had on hand.

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Museum notes

April 27, 2014

The world of museums is full of marvelous oddities: in particular, remarkably specialized museums, of all sizes (there are also grab-bag museums: local museums, exhibiting anything having some connection, however remote, to the locality, and eccentric museums, gathering together all sorts of things that have caught the collector’s eye).

Two specialized museums that have come by me recently: one that’s a fresh mention of an old friend, the Frog Museum in Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland; and a new acquaintance, the Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik.

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On the euphemism watch

April 2, 2014

From Benjamin Tolbert on ADS-L:

My University now has a “budget realignment task force”.

I think this = “people who decide who and what is cut.”

That list has had previous discussions about euphemisms for firing or discontinuing employees (“letting them go”), of which there are no end, all designed to avoid the nasty truth through administrative jargon. This is a particularly impressive example, a four-word compound noun (in seven syllables). Awkward and clunky.

There might be even worse examples out there. Much more embarrassing than sex.

 


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