Quotations from 2005

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Apr 25 14:47:23 UTC 2005

At 12:00 AM -0400 4/25/05, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>As Josh Marshall has pointed out on his Talking Points Memo blog,
>Republican leaders are now distancing themselves from the term "nuclear
>option", even claiming that it's a Democratic smear (despite Lott's
>coinage of the term). They now prefer to call it the "constitutional
>option", which is presumably more appealing to focus groups than the scary
>"nuclear" menace (cf. the shift from "nuclear magnetic resonance" to
>"magnetic resonance imaging").
>Some media outlets, including the New York Times, are dutifully following
>this change of vocabulary, much as Social Security "privatization" and
>"private accounts" magically transformed into "personalization" and
>"personal accounts".

Not to be an apologist for the Times's practices, but according to
their "public editor" Daniel Okrent, their policy is to alternate
references, at least in the "private" vs. "personal" accounts case,
with the idea of splitting the PR difference.  Whether they do follow
the practice of 50% "personal"/50% "private" is another question.

Another obvious case where this comes up is "estate tax" vs. "death
tax", but I'm not sure they have undertaken to use the latter term
half the time.   Perhaps "personal account" is a subtler euphemism
than "death tax" is a dysphemism.  Then of course there's
anti-abortion, pro-life, pro-choice, etc. etc.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list