Essay on Euphemisms Keep Us Cozy By George Carlin

1712 Words Aug 4th, 2015 7 Pages
Euphemisms Keep Us Cozy
There is no doubt in my mind that anyone reading this today would be offended if I were to refer to a boy with Down’s syndrome as retarded or crippled. But why should they? The vast majority of the population is not suffering from this or another debilitating disease. Neither are they likely to have a personal relationship with someone who is. Despite this general lack of acquaintanceship, most people prefer to use euphemistic terms like “special” or “developmentally disabled.” However, George Carlin disapproves of the use of euphemisms because he sees it as a soft form of speech intended to protect the speaker’s feelings. In a comedy routine, he lambasts words like “mobile homes” and “irregularity” because “Americans have trouble facing the truth” or gravity of a situation. But that is a very simple-minded, one-dimensional, and frankly arrogant view of euphemisms. There are many reasons to use polite speech besides hiding ugly or uncomfortable truths. Euphemisms demonstrate evolving language, respect, and consideration for ourselves and others. There is a positive effect in the use of delicate speech in American English.
George Carlin makes a strong case against euphemisms in his comedy routine. Most notably, he traces the evolution of the word “shell shock” to “battle fatigue” and “operational exhaustion,” before finally ending as the clinically sterile “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD). He rants about how the final phrasing of the condition…

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