Say What?

Article excerpt

Reapply If You Resurrect

While recently browsing human service materials, I've come across a variety of quotable foolishness. The first is a particularly ridiculous euphemism for poor people: monetary underachievers. It reminds us that euphemisms are often--but not always--funny. Although they are usually employed simply to appear fashionable and strike us as merely silly, they become boundary violations when they are used to intentionally mislead.

A term that probably falls into the former category is "rebadging," a popular term for outsourcing. In itself it is relatively innocuous, but when the notice of termination to outsourced staff calls it an "employee enhancement opportunity," it makes workplace violence a bit more comprehensible.

To be fair, this sort of usage is more often pompous than misleading. Recent law-enforcement examples come to me from disparate sources. A few times a year I visit an obscure part of northwestern New Mexico near Chaco Canyon. A friend of mine in law enforcement tells me that even there his colleagues have taken to using "person of interest" for suspect. Moreover, he heard a Navajo cop refer to the "offender interface. …


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