Archive for the ‘Euphemism’ Category

Annals of euphemism: degrees of avoided expletivity

November 4, 2018

From Georgia Morgan on 10/29:·

I guess if you want to use profane language in emails to your senators, you need to tone it down. I wrote “Mass gun violence events are becoming [f$%king] commonplace!” and my message was rejected by the Senate server as a security risk, but “[expletive deleted]” was OK. I’m guessing “freaking” would have passed muster also.

Ah, [f$%king] is insufficiently euphemistic in this context. I imagine [f**king] and [f–king] would also be out, but I wonder about

[f$%@ing], [f***ing], [f—ing]

And then there’s freaking, fracking, farking, the Good Place‘s forking, the antique frigging, and many more, all of them patiently logged one place or another.

And meta-expletive euphemisms like “[expletive deleted]”. And on and on, detailed in many many postings on LLog and this blog (I’ve posted dozens of times just about the practices of the New York Times).

But the idea that fucking, or anything really close to it, would be a security risk, that’s a novelty to me. One motherfucker uttered or written in public, and our nation’s tender belly is ripped open, exposing us all to hordes of godless pinko Commies! Who knew we were so vulnerable?

(more…)

Revisiting 20: X Places

November 1, 2018

The Scenes From a Multiverse of 10/9, entitled #NOTALLPLACES:

A riff on Michael Schur’s sitcom The Good Place, with Kristen Bell (as Eleanor, apparently sent wrongly to the place after her deathGood Plae modality is harsh.) and Ted Danson (as Michael, the designer of the place). Also a comment on social media (Twitter vs. Facebook).  And of course on the nature of reality and our perceptions of it.

(more…)

Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

(more…)

I gotta go

September 11, 2018

The catch phrase of writer and performer Merle Kessler’s alter ego Ian Shoales, just a bit short of the more vernacular I’m outta here. That’s motion go. Then there’s elimination go, and an ambiguity between the two, as exploited by Calvin in this (recently re-cycled) Calvin and Hobbes strip:

(#1)

(more…)

Mud, shit, and chocolate

July 30, 2018

Caught on re-run tv yesterday, in the Law & Order S19 E10 episode “Pledge” (from 1/21/09):

Your entire case rests on this girl’s testimony. If her only impetus to cooperate is greed, you’re in trouble. Who dangled money in front of her in the first place?

The cops. They knew she was in debt, so they pressed her pretty hard.

It’s going to look like we bought her testimony. What a mud sandwich this is turning into.

And only a few months before that, in an emotional  9/29/08 speech on the floor of the U.S. Congress by Rep. John Boehner in support of the TARP bill bailing out big banks:

None of us came here to have to vote for this mud sandwich!

(You can watch it here.)

Yes, mud sandwich. A euphemism for shit sandwich.

(more…)

Lusty days

May 5, 2018

(Sexual plain talk, in street language. Later, some gay porn described in plain terms. Mostly not for kids or the sexually modest.)

John Baker, in a comment on my posting yesterday “Then, if ever, come lusty days” (about the month of May), catches the reference to the musical Camelot’s song “Lusty Month of May”:


(#1) The scene from the 1967 movie; you can listen to Julie Andrews sing the song here

This is about lusty.

(more…)

Up in every way

February 13, 2018

“Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up”, the song goes, and it manages to pack a whole bagful of uses of up into a few verses.

(#1) “All the Way Up”, with drugs, bitches and hoes, sex (“I’m that nigga on Viagra dick”), bling, success

And then Mountain Dew (the soft drink) extracted just a bit of the song for its own purposes.

(more…)

Wet words

November 15, 2017

In a Law & Order episode (S8 E15), a character explains that he’s going inside his house because he has to tap a kid — short for the idiom tap a/my kidney ‘urinate’, with kidney clipped to kid.

(more…)

Ostentatious euphemisms

July 15, 2017

A recent tv commercial for Jack Link’s beef jerky builds up to the punch line, the claim that the jerky

beats the snack out of other snacks

ostentatiously using snack as a euphemism for shit.

(more…)

Verbal magic in the workplace

June 2, 2017

Today’s Dilbert:

Your people are distressed about the cell-like connotations of cubicle? Easy solution: change the term, to something that sounds more substantial. Yes, they’ll still be working in cell-like spaces, but they might feel better about it. Apparently, the magic of euphemistic, elevating jargon can sometimes work even if the audience knows that it’s jargonistic invention.