the new "euphemism"

wh5mith wh5mith at BELLSOUTH.NET
Sun Dec 22 01:45:22 UTC 2013

Those four-letter words, those four-letter words!
We never say quite what we mean.
We'd rather be known for our hypocrite ways
Than vulgar, impure, and unclean!
A brilliant casuist disproved every false generalization.  He is justly known lately.  Moreover, no pompous quibbler really said that useful verities were xenophobic yet zealous.

 From: George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2013 7:21 PM
Subject: the new "euphemism"

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
Subject:      the new "euphemism"

From the NYTimes of a day or so ago, from an article on a exhibit of work
by Jason Rhoades.

"And each installation has something to say about the stereotypical,
sex-obsessed, heterosexual American male; one piece is littered with
printouts of Internet pornography, another covered with neon signs that
list euphemisms or [sic] the vagina."

In that the NYTimes -- pure in word, thought and deed, as always --
couldn't bring itself to print any of these euphemisms, I surmise that they
are really synonyms -- obscene synonyms, but still.

I suppose that this is a sign that now "euphemism" is a synonym for
So what's a synonym for "euphemism", for the use of those of us who prefer
to be understood as saying what we intended to be understood as saying?

in dismay.

If this be prescriptivism, make the most of it.

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

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