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Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2002 / 13 Kislev, 5763

John Leo

John Leo
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Consumer Reports

Put on a sappy face | There's a problem in Florida's Panhandle. Some residents think their area's name leaves the impression that panhandling is the major local activity. So they want their area to be known as "Florida's Great Northwest." Why not? Many accountants are unhappy with their name, too.

They prefer "cognitors," even though this sounds like a herd at Jurassic Park. In football, some fans think a long and desperate last-second pass should not be called a "Hail Mary" play because of the religious reference. They think it should be called, well, a long and desperate last-second pass. Yes, America effortlessly churns out euphemisms and upscale name changes. Here are some current ones:

Comparative ads: attack ads

Traffic-calming road insertions: speed bumps

In-depth interrogation: torture

Visual harassment: staring

Unacknowledged repetitions: plagiarism

Derivative passages: plagiarism

Inadvertently copying long sections of someone else's book and putting it in yours: plagiarism

Roster management: eliminating male athletes, adding females

Verbal abuse: criticism

Assaultive expression: criticism

Linguistic domestic violence: criticism of a wife

Abductees (in Sudan): slaves

Tribal chief: swarthy, non-English-speaking leader you admire

Warlord: swarthy, non-English-speaking leader you do not admire

Self-sacrifice bombers: suicide bombers

Targeting process error: looks like we killed a lot of civilians

Activist volunteering (feminese): helping to kidnap a child from a father who has custody

Tree-density reduction: chopping down every tree in sight

Isolated reflection interval: timeout

Mandatory discontinued attendance: suspension

Cultural genocide: correcting a pupil's nonstandard English

Multicultural issues editor: censor

Psychological violence: disapproval

Creating personal accounts: privatizing Social Security

Unpaid sex worker: wife

Sexual service provider: paid sex worker, hooker

Death tax: inheritance tax

Duty-not-paid importing: smuggling

Cosmetically saturated: wearing too much makeup

Fragrance abuse: wearing too much perfume

Olfactory assault: wearing any perfume at all

Nondiscretionary fragrance: body odor

Robust peacekeeping: killing troublesome locals

Coercive pregnancy: turned down for a late abortion

Mandatory motherhood: turned down for a late abortion

Pregnancy-related services: abortion

Product of conception: baby

Evacuate cranial contents: suck the baby's brains out

Action figures: dolls for boys

Nuclear transplantation: cloning

Poorly buffered precipitation: acid rain

Smoothers: girdles

Spouse equivalent: lover

Polyamory: wild promiscuity

Person-centered sexuality with permissive affection: anything goes

Nontraditional sex: perversions

Comprehensive sex education: sex-ed classes stressing the things your parents hope you will never do

Hemp activist: pot promoter

Problem-plagued: drug-addled

Post-verdict response: riot

Uprising: a riot you approve of

Granted "access" to my body (Boston clerical term): had sex with a young male

Occupant restraints: seat belts

Race-sensitive programs: preferences, quotas

Faith-based organizations: religious organizations

Deer management: shooting all the deer

Activity intolerance: lower back pain

Economic profiling: getting turned down for a loan because of a poor credit rating

Made possible by: we don't take advertising, but here comes an ad anyway

Relationship manager: salesperson

Persistency specialist: bill collector

Tactical pricing: panicky price cuts

Intercommunal coexistence (from a program at Brandeis): getting along

Mainstreaming (journalese): quoting one member of every race, gender, orientation, and ethnic group in all news reports, even ones about ailing turtles, bad weather, or Martha Stewart

Lifestyle and Fitness competition: Miss America's swimsuit competition

The (nongendered) monarchy, the power, and the glory: the (patriarchal) kingdom, the power, and the glory

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Involuntary normal attrition: laying off workers

Managing down: laying off workers

Rightsizing: laying off workers

Job survivor: person not yet rightsized, attrited, or managed down

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JWR contributor John Leo's latest book is Incorrect Thoughts: Notes on Our Wayward Culture. Send your comments by clicking here.


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