PAGES : A Cerebrally Deprived Notion

You're not stupid, you're cerebrally challenged . You're not drunk, you're sobriety-deprived . You're not ugly, you're a victim of lookism .

These highbrow euphemisms come courtesy of "The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook," compiled by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf of the tongue-in-cheek American Hyphen Society--whose motto is: "It became necessary to destroy the language in order to save it."

Rampant PC-ness may not be destroying the language, says Beard, but "you can see how something that began with good motives can become a little creepy."

The authors had planned on making up the humorous monikers but found that they had been beaten to the punch by academic institutions, fringe groups--even the government.

"These terms are virtually all absolutely real," Beard says. "We might have made up 30 of them, but we found that 20 of those actually existed." There are footnotes to prove it.

One example is the concept of borealocentrism --the fact that maps show North America at the top of the globe, thus subtly reinforcing the idea that it is superior to other continents. "It turns out there is a group concerned about that," says Beard.

Beard believes that sexist and racist language is "revolting." However, he adds, getting nit-picky over semantics isn't the way to go about changing society: "Does it really help the homeless to call them the differently domiciled ?"

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
65°