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  • November 26, 2014

The Tangential Thinker - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

The Tangential Thinker

Political Correction

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Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2009 12:00 am

It’s a new era. We have a new president, a new economy and a new wave of political correctness. Reading an article about how PETA wants to call fish ‘sea kittens’ to discourage people from eating them, it occurred to me that you can name and rename things until the cow kittens come home. Words seem to offend people not because of content but because of overuse. The only thing you can refer to as ‘Oriental’ without being offensive is a rug, but why? Nobody objects to the term ‘The Orient.’ You can still ride the Orient Express. Do Westerners get upset when called Occidental? My manicurist is no longer my manicurist. She’s my nail technician, and I probably shouldn’t be referring to her as mine as that would be implying ownership.

    Did you know there are no longer dog owners? If you have a dog living in your home you are a dog or pet guardian. That is until ‘guardian’ becomes offensive; then you become, what, an adoptive canine parent? I read online that a group of prisoners petitioned their warden because they didn’t want to be referred to as ‘prisoners.’ They wanted to be called by name. So instead of Have the prisoner who shivved the prisoner in the yard step forward, the guard would say, Have Mr. Smith step forward. Of course, I was hoping the warden informed the petitioners in response that he did not want to be referred to as a ‘warden’ but rather as ‘recidivist rehabilitation supervisor.’ No such luck.

    Hospitals have started referring to ‘patients’ as ‘clients’ to avoid the negative implication that the person is sick. Let that one marinate for a second. Take this little quiz and see if you can figure out what we used to call these newly coined terms (hint: Only one of them is a joke).

1) Achieve a deficiency

2) Unaffiliated solicitor of private sector funding

3) Ethically challenged

4) Least best

5) Diverted success

6) Negative saver

7) Attendance minimization

8) Work wind- down

9) Involuntarily leisured

10) Chronic life termination specialist


Answers:

1) Fail

2) Beggar or panhandler

3) Liar

4) Worst

5) Failure

6) Debtor/ spendthrift/ shopaholic

7) Sick day

8) Happy hour

9) Fired

10) Serial killer 

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