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Euphemisms

This is about death and sex really… When I heard this week that someone had been astrally harvested, my first reaction was to laugh. Consider others’ feelings, by all means, but isn’t that one just a little OTT?

Euphemisms are presumably to spare the embarrassment of others; like little white lies in a way, and they certainly have their use. Some people even seem to find medical terms embarrassing. So we use words like “willy” and talk about dog “dirt” and “you-know-what”. And why not? It’s harmless enough.

But what is it about swearing that seems to disgust some people so much? Intelligent publications like The Times and Private Eye use, in context, what are considered to be even the strongest profanities. But here on the Web, we’ve all got to be ultra-careful. I don’t want to pepper the prose with “rude” words but this censorship is bizarre when you consider what kind of sites we are sitting next to.

Quite often in the UK there’s an announcement before TV programmes: “This programme contains strong language.” No mention of the fact that you see someone get their head sawn off by a maniac or 20 people get blown apart in a shoot-out. Oooh, someone said the F word, we’d better start with a warning. Violence, cruelty, and abuse are all OK but swearing is a real no-no.

This site is not intended for children but the strongest thing you’ll find here is an anagram of “hits”. Anything more could get it an adult rating and that probably wouldn’t be a good thing. “Adult” now seems to be a euphemism for “porn”. Why can’t “adult” mean “for adults” and “porn” mean “porn”? We need a third way here – something between Blue Peter and Blue Dick.

PG Author: Phil McCollum

Phillida McCollum is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about stuff to fill space on BE. [Can't think of anything amusing right now... ho hum]

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