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Cephalic attrition

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2009

The WSJ featured a fine piece of satire by Joe Queenan last week:

The Obama administration has come under intense criticism for replacing the term "war on terror" with the emaciated euphemism "overseas contingency operations," and for referring to individual acts of terror as "man-caused disasters."

… Many feel that such vaporous bureaucratese is a self-emasculating action that plunges us into an Orwellian world where words have no emotional connection with the horrors they purport to describe.

Yet, if the intention of the Obama administration is to tone down the confrontational rhetoric being used by our enemies, the effort is already reaping results. This week, in a pronounced shift from its usual theatrical style, the Taliban announced that it will no longer refer to its favorite method of murder as "beheadings," but will henceforth employ the expression "cephalic attrition." "Flayings" — a barbarously exotic style of execution that has been popular in this part of the world since before the time of Alexander — will now be described as "unsolicited epidermal reconfigurations."

Read the whole thing. I especially liked the Sudan's rebranding of genocide as "maximum-intensity racial profiling."

(HT: normblog)

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