"astroturf" as euphemism?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 9 18:27:42 UTC 2009

At 12:37 PM -0400 8/9/09, Mark Mandel wrote:
>I'm more inclined to think that the writer thinks that "euphemism" is a
>fancy word for "synonym" or "shoptalk expression"... or for "fancy synonym".

or "term of art".  Yes, that was my guess too.


>(I started to type "cynonym"... interesting blend, that!)
>m a m
>On Sun, Aug 9, 2009 at 12:05 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:
>>   From a posting by Patricia Murphy at the "Politics Daily" blog,
>>  regarding the national health care "debate":
>>  ========================
>>  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office sent out a fact sheet to
>>  reporters Tuesday afternoon, calling recent demonstrations at
>>  congressional town hall events "Astroturf," the Washington euphemism
>>  for a corporate public relations campaign disguised to look like a
>>  grass roots citizen movement.
>>  Pelosi said that while Democrats are putting forth proposals to
>>  reform health care, "those not interested in health insurance reform
>>  are disrupting public meetings and not allowing concerned
>>  constituents to ask questions and express their views. Many of these
>>  opponents who are shutting down civil discussion are organized by
>>  out-of-district, extremist political groups, and industry-supported
>>  lobbying firms."
>>  ==========================
>>  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.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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