"astroturf" as euphemism?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 9 17:34:03 UTC 2009

I've got a problem with anybody who uses "euphemism" that way. And to
judge from the talking crania on cable news, there's plenty of 'em.

Cf. the ever-increasing use of "allegory" for "symbol" or "metaphor."  I
wonder why that should be, since in every English class I ever had or
taught, "allegory" was by far the least frequently applicable of the three
and the least used.

Waaaaaaaiiiit a minute!  "Least used" could imply "most obscure," which
always means "smartest sounding."  We used to use "synonym" a whole lot....


On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 12:50 PM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "astroturf" as euphemism?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sun, Aug 09, 2009 at 12:05:27PM -0400, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > From a posting by Patricia Murphy at the "Politics Daily" blog,
> > regarding the national health care "debate":
> >
> http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/08/04/pelosi-calls-anger-over-health-care-reform-astroturf/
> [...]
> > I always thought "astroturf" in the political sense, as in "astroturf
> > campaign", "astroturf movement", etc., was a clever coinage to refer
> > to (what are represented by the speaker, and here the Speaker, as)
> > faux-grass-roots efforts on behalf of a position or a candidate, but
> > if it's a euphemism I'm not sure what it's a euphemism for, and whose
> > feelings are being spared by its use.
> So your problem here is with Pelosi's use of "euphemism",
> rather than "Astroturf"?
> Jesse Sheidlower
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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