Euphemisms often evolve over time into taboo words themselves, through a process described by W.V.O. Quine, and more recently dubbed the “euphemism treadmill” bySteven Pinker, discussed in his The Blank Slate (2003) and The Stuff of Thought (2007) This is the well-known linguistic process known as pejoration or semantic change.
- Words originally intended as euphemisms may lose their euphemistic value, acquiring the negative connotations of their referents. In some cases, they may be used mockingly and become dysphemisms. Euphemisms related to disabilities have been prone to this (see below).
- In his remarks on the ever-changing London slang, made in Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell mentioned both the euphemism treadmill and the dysphemism treadmill. He did not use these now-established terms, but observed and commented on the respective processes as early as in 1933.
Where the words lavatory or toilet were deemed inappropriate, they were sometimes replaced with bathroom or water closet, which in turn became simply restroom or W.C.These are also examples of geographic concentration: the term restroom is an Americanism rarely used outside the United States, while washroom is a Canadian euphemism.The term W.C. was previously quite popular in the United Kingdom, but is passing out of favor there, while becoming more popular in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary as the polite term of choice. Ironically, Toilet is itself a euphemism.’
“Acceptable” discourse gets narrower and narrower. The idea of the euphemism treadmill is a nice metaphor for how we can move further and further away from the truth in the pursuit of what is perceived as “niceness”. We are in an abusive relationship with a lot of our cultural systems.
I love that Stephen Colbert has given such a strong, dismissive and rude voice to the Left. We needed that.
Draw/paint magnolia-in-yard photo from walk today
Realization: drawing & painting things can useful for images I’m unable to take decent photos of. Reason: found.
- Helen Keller sunglasses in china
- The Miracle Worker
- Whore’s Glory
- peculiar ways of showing respect to handicapped/marginalized
Craig & I on Amazing Race?
Saving the orphanage so we can put on a show at Mrs. McGregors farm.
How are you?
I was wondering if you’d be interested in coming up here to make giant bubbles sometime soon. I just picked up a big bubble wand that I haven’t even tried yet (photo attached). I miss you and Seattle’s spring is very pretty, if you have time/money for a trip.
If you can’t make it up here, I’ll also be in LA in June or July for at least a long weekend. With Erik, too. :)
What’s been up with you?? How’s work? How’re the boys?
War poem I wrote when I was 15, in half an hour, in class.
I was too shy to read it in front of people, so the substitute teacher did, with vowels like Fran Drescher playing a pirate.
Pearls before swine.
It can sometimes be intense when you think about how you want conversations with your sweetie to fill up every bit of free time. It feels pretty naked and dangerous to think how this one person easily meets nearly all of your social needs, and you could so easily get lazy and lose touch with others, not that he’d ever try to influence that.
Take a photo of graffiti, and then do a painting of that photo. Hang the painting next to the original graffiti, with a note that says: “To the artist: art swap! Thanks. :)”
Lucinda podcast: art as a philosophy — poss. title, Art Swap!
Young writers, electronic cigarettes are delicious and greatly aid the creative process. (When e-cigs are declared poisonous, this is the statement that wil make me want to suicide.)
Is this what Mayans were talking about, with the poles switching? The global mood shifting to positive? If we can just get those negative fucks to shut up? Meritocracy or bust?
Or: An atheist revolution? 99%? 12 Monkeys? 7th Seal? The Colbert Report [7th Seal ref]?
Is there an automated way to insert a comma after every word in a document so it’ll make tags for every word for a Tumblr search because Tumblr searches sucksucksuck?
“Creep” post for Tumblr:
You have one song that’s popular enough to get you heard by the audience that’s right for you.
You’re a kooky house. Your… [make an argument worthy of “Creep”]
The Internet allows Everyman to crowd-source those who might love him, for whatever reason.
Photo of myself with tweet/username overlay: “Every self portrait says, ‘Love me.’” [link to tweet]
Painting: Erik & me, holding hands and jumping out of a plane window in the illo style of flight emergency cards.
This painting is a direct rip-off of one that G drew out on the canvas but never filled in. One I really wanted to see. It’s kinda perfect (sad, but perfect) that he never would jump with me.
G and Aaron can share the meme game thing, if they want. They know what I mean. I still think that’s a really good idea. I’m sorry I ran out of steam on that one, Aaron.
Anyway: art swap!
The thing about finding a Voice is that sometimes it never shuts up.