"astroturf" as euphemism?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 9 18:29:22 UTC 2009

At 12:50 PM -0400 8/9/09, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>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":
>>  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"?
Yes--not Pelosi's use, though, but Murphy's.  As far as I can tell,
Pelosi used the term but didn't try to label it linguistically or
rhetorically as Murphy did.


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