Another in a series of periodic reports on taboo avoidance in the New York Times: three examples of an expletive / obscenity (from Ben Zimmer), plus one case where the paper breaks down and prints [expletive deleted], despite its stated policy not to do so (in this case, it’s hard to see how to avoid it).
Archive for the ‘Euphemism’ Category
Today’s Zippy, with Griffy and Zippy having another one of their Art Talks, with heavy similes:
In the background, Oh Fudge Lucille’s Candies in Brants Beach NJ:
Lucilles — note: no apostrophe — makes and sells fudge (among other things, like salt water taffy), but the name Oh Fudge alludes to the cutesy euphemism fudge for fuck.
Heard on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an instance of get pelvic (with someone) ‘have sex (with someone)’, a euphemistic idiom based on the image of the pelvis as the cradle of the genitals. I don’t recall having heard the expression in other contexts, but it seems to have been picked up in Buffy fanfic, where there are many occurrences. Two examples:
Set after season six. After she got back but before they got pelvic, Spike leaves … (link)
Gunn just didn’t get the finer points of the Buffy/Angel relationship, ‘Because they like to get pelvic and now they can ’cause Angel got his soul anchored… (link)
For the Fourth of July (Independence Day) weekend, an advertising campaign on the TLA Adult Gay Video site:
(intended: foreskin + independence).
Meanwhile, for some time now the 76 gasoline firm (formerly Union 76) has been running a tv ad campaign against honkaholism (honk + alcoholism, or possibly honk + the libfix -aholism), an addiction to honking.
The first turns out not to convey the intended meaning — an Independence Day sale — very well; foreskins are not centrally involved in the matter, and in any case the term could be parsed as foreskin + dependence.
The second is clever and cute, but becomes annoying on repetition.
A message from Ken Callicott:
In the 1986 film “Never Too Young To Die”, the hermaphroditic rock star villain, Velvet Von Ragnar (played by Gene Simmons) killed a henchman, then said something like “Garbage that” or “Garbage him”. I don’t recall ever having heard ‘garbage’ used as a verb.
At first I thought garbage here was a euphemistic replacement for fuck (based on semantics rather than phonology), but now that I look at the actual quote, I see that we’re dealing with a simple verbing here.
(And the movie looks like a hoot.)
Tailor’s terminology for which side of his trousers a man normally stashes his junk on; “Do you dress left or right, sir?” (The crotch dimensions will then be adjusted some to accomodate the man’s hanging on the left or the right.) It came up this morning in connection with my Jon Hamm moose knuckle / freeballing posting; Mike McKinley noted that from the photos, Hamm dresses right.
The idiom isn’t exactly a euphemism, but it is a delicate way of referring to personal information.
Michael Quinion returned yesterday to his weekly World Wide Words column (#813, 1/5/13) after a month’s absence, offering us (in the “Sic!” section, on errors and infelicities of all kinds) this entertaining item:
The London Mail online was visited on [December 14th] from New Zealand by John Neave, who found this report: “He told Cardiff Crown Court that he suffers from ‘sexomnia’ and has a history of trying to sleep with partners while asleep.”
What makes this funny is the juxtaposition of euphemistic sleep ‘have sex(ual relations) with’ and literal asleep, producing an effect similar to oxymoron.
And as a bonus we get the technical term sexsomnia (in the spelling variant sexomnia, orthographically recognizing the phonological reduction of medial /ss/, with one /s/ from sex and one from the base somnia, to a single /s/).
In an earlier note, I looked at bath tissue as a substitute for toilet paper or bathroom tissue, both of those serving as euphemisms for some more direct reference to material for wiping the anus clean of feces. Bath tissue is sufficiently indirect that it can take some work to understand out of context.
Since then I’ve moved into a more complex world of wiping, thanks to my not having showers as the grand scheme of bodily hygiene. (My shower is a glass enclosure over a tub, and it’s a big step into the shower — way too big for someone with a new hip implant . So it’s sponge baths and other workarounds.)
There are two needs here: anal wiping again, now to be managed without a shower cleanup; and general body washing (including rinsing and drying), which would ordinarily be done (in the absence of showering) with soap and a washcloth at a sink or basin, This stuff eventually gets a lot easier, but at the beginning the project is much like infant care or elder care, and the cleaning products needed are pretty much the same.