Thursday 9 October 2014

Euphemisms About Class and Stuff (in Quotes)

There was nobody at all in the East End

“My rather simple family kept my own genetic secret for over half a century.” (geneticist Paul Nurse His father – actually his grandfather – was a farmworker.)

Row over NY developers installing “poor doors” – separate entrances for the affordable housing they have to provide. Green Party’s Darren Johnson said: “This shows contempt for ordinary people.” (July 2014)

Now for reshuffle winners. Team Cameron calls them "refreshing, representative and election winning" - code for 'good on telly & not posh'. (‏@bbcnickrobinson)
It has become acceptable to shop at Lidl. (Guardian July 2 2011 Presumably it was acceptable to a lot of people before 2011, or Lidl would have gone out of business.)

"What I like about east London is that it is still a bit edgy [...] It is so populated. Ten years ago there was nobody there." (Zaha Hadid)

“He seems to get around to a lot of places people haven’t visited before.” (Anthony Powell, What’s Become of Waring? The people who live in the places are of course “natives”. The novel was written in the 30s.)

seems to be a euphemism for the vulnerable lower orders. (Grayson Perry, New Statesman Oct 2014)

Is it too simplistic to suggest that this 'recovery' involves profits going up again and shareholders/bosses keeping almost all of them? (James O'Brien ‏@mrjamesob)

"I'm just old fashioned" = I know my views are outdated and probably sexist, racist, homophobic, or similar, but I'll keep them anyway. (@MrOzAtheist)

He said he was “managing director, digital” at a public relations firm.
“I don’t really know what that means.”
“I’m a digital and social-media strategist,” he explained. “I deliver programs, products, and strategies to our corporate clients across the spectrum of communications functions.”
“Sorry to be a doofus, but pretend I’m ten years old. What do you do all day? ”
“I teach big companies how to use Facebook.”
(Gary Stephen Ross,

Support for the status quo is "nuanced", opposing the status quo is "predictable". (@OwenJones84)

Everyone gushed about how Clare Balding had got where she was because of graft and ability (which was another way of saying she wasn’t conventionally pretty and didn’t sleep her way to the top). (Times 2014-09-06)

There's poverty in the UK, but we are better off calling it inequality. (John Lanchester)

Rezidentura was Cold War Russian terminology for a KGB spy station overseas. (New Humanist August 2014)

Dark as in “the new Dr Who”: I think it involves the difference between “good” and “bad”, “hero” and “villain” being somewhat blurred. (Michael Savage ‏@Softspoken_One)

Poverty has structural causes. (We are not, repeat not, pointing the finger at anybody.)

“I’m sorry, but you’re too experienced.” It is, I believe, synonymous with, "I'm sorry, but we would have to pay you too much..." "Too experienced" could mean "I find you intimidating." (LinkedIn discussion) (Could also mean “You are taller than the boss”.)

physical: violent (He was accustomed to being physical with women, and, while his wife put up with the abuse, her daughter grew less and less inclined to stand by and watch.

It's work experience and personality (ie being willing to get stuff done, smiling, easy to talk to) that get you jobs. (Commenter in Guardian)

Well, the head of chemistry sighed, the Salters course was quite new and so some of the stuffier universities might not look too favourably on it. These ‘stuffier’ universities seemed to overlap quite closely with my mental list of ‘good’ universities. (Web of Substance blog)

Surely, gov't cannot possibly cap rail fares. They've already said price regulation is unworkable socialist madness. *awaits announcement* (Alex Andreou ‏@sturdyAlex)
It’s unworkable socialist madness when proposed by socialists. When proposed by Tories, it’s supporting hard-working families. (Brian Johnson ‏@MustardSeedUK)

"Courtesy" call = irritating and pointless call. "Courtesy" car = deathtrap. (Sathnam Sanghera ‏@Sathnam)

"Let's restore peace" - "Let's return to killing and terrorizing random black folks without you people causing a fuss. Attention seekers!" (HSofia ‏@hsofia Week of Ferguson riots, Aug 2014)

What they call 'persistence' feels like plodding, doesn't it? A lot of plodding in success. (@alightheart)

Kids. Just let them be. Stop living through them, spoiling them and over indulging them. They deserve to be themselves. (@Nick_Pye  Yet another meaning for “be yourself”.)

Exams "unimaginative, little changed from Victorian times" and fail to ready pupils for the modern workplace, warns Eton's headmaster. He means: "Public schools do not come top in league tables, we need a different USP."

[In the 80s] the Observer carried a story based on a leak, claiming that MI5 secretly controlled the “hiring and firing’’ of BBC staff members in a vetting process known as “colleging” or “the formalities”. Telegraph Aug 2104

I was... voted “most scholarly” of my class, roughly equivalent to “least likely to have sex.” (

materialism: Usually seems to be "other people wanting stuff". (Roman Iwaschkin)

General warning about the world; if a person/government has to tell you how democratic/peaceful/not racist/not misogynist they are, run. (@Fauxgyptian)

‏Also, western leaders are rarely called things like "master manipulator" even when so. But the tricksy Arabs are just that. (@Fauxgyptian Quoting from the Economist on Erdogan)

When cops shoot a black kid, ppl who gather to grieve are an "angry mob." When cops shoot a white kid... Hm I can't even think of an example (@YesYoureRacist)

political correctness: the term reactionaries use when they caught out behaving
badly. (Nick D)

didn’t suffer fools gladly:
“obituary-ese for ‘ill-tempered and difficult’” (@WillWiles)

Security chief Zhou Yongkang is to be investigated for a “serious disciplinary offence” (code for bribery and influence-peddling). (The Week)

It's never described as 'elegant' or 'beautiful' with Germany. it's always 'clinical', 'well oiled' & 'efficient' why is this @GaryLineker? (@dallascampbell)

It is incredible how quickly folk resort to labels of 'negativity', 'aggression', 'confrontation' etc when faced with criticisms they dislike. ( ‏@How_Upsetting )

More here.

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