Thursday 24 September 2015

Euphemisms about Diversity and Relationships (in Quotes)


In the last Batman movie they told me that I couldn't get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren't "going urban". (Zoe Kravitz)

Ideology: white people of Christian background just get to be British. Ethnic and religious minorities have to identify with Britain. (Daniel Trilling ‏@trillingual)

Multiculturalism is relativistic. No culture is more valuable than [any] other. (Miloš Tomin ‏@hogtownserb He also says that the Byzantine Empire (eg) was not multicultural because it had a dominant culture.)

People call you a North London geek. (Jeremy Paxman to Ed Miliband)

Jack to Liz: the television audience doesn’t want your elitist, East Coast, alternative, intellectual, left-wing –
Liz: Jack, just say Jewish, this is taking forever.
(30 Rock)

“Flamboyant North London businessman" is code for “Jew”, according to Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian, October 2013.

As David Cameron admits that Britain is disjointed by mass immigration, Ruth Dudley Edwards examines the consequences of our lax policies. (The Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2011)

Who is to blame for fractured Britain? (The Daily Telegraph headline, April 14 2011)


The translation agency only advertises for girls with “no complexes”: code for being prepared to bed the client. (Times article on Russian gold-diggers, Feb 2015)

Prenuptial agreements are booming among wealthy couples desperate to avoid the expense of a messy contested divorce settlement. (Evening Standard, 7 May 2008 For "messy", read "expensive".)

"Compromise" being code for doing exactly what their male partner wants regardless of their own pleasure. ( on a piece in the Metro on why men should date single mothers – one of the reasons is that they are more prepared to "compromise".)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Euphemisms about Lies (in Quotes)

Norumbega Castle
Several decades later, an English explorer named David Ingram elaborated (i.e., lied) and described the fabulously rich city of Norumbega that he claimed to have visited himself. This city of silver, gold, and pearls was generally believed to be in Maine (specifically on the Penobscot River), but explorers sought the place in vain. ( on the Vikings’ supposed visits to the US)

The Department of Work and Pensions has admitted that “case studies” showing the benefits of sanctions on peoples’ lives were “illustrative” only, i.e. lies. (

don't get it - or, in other words, you disagree.
Ignorance. n. The state of not accepting my opinions.
Educate yourself, by which I mean agree with my opinions.

"Attacked by angry atheists" = received tweets questioning logic. (@MrOzAtheist)

"Injecting politics" aka "saying something I don't like". (@AmyDentata)

It is the anger of the pure believer towards the apostate. (Tim Lott in the Guardian on lefties who take issue with his Spiked attitudes. They disagreed with you, Tim. In another column he wrote that, since he earns more than his wife, on major expenditures his wishes over-ride hers. And he really can’t understand why she’s so angry. (March 2015)

According to my dictionary one meaning of "strident" is "Presenting a point of view in an excessively forceful way". (phinch@cix Do they mean “not surrounding it with caveats or ifs and buts”?)

When did 'holding a contrary opinion' become 'trolling'? (David Didau ‏@LearningSpy)

Aggressive and adversarial conflict generates publicity but it sets back the cause of proper conservation. (The chairman of the Hawk and Owl Trust on Chris Packham. Translation: This man disagreed with me.)

"We are voicing our legitimate discontent." "They are a mob".
( Ben Evans ‏@kittylyst Re junior scientists “hounding” Tim Hunt.)
“Tim Hunt was hounded out of his job and his career was ruined!” = He was sacked from honorary positions, he had already retired.

I engage, you harass. (@BDSixsmith)

Consumerism is when people buy things you don't approve of. But your own shopping choices show great taste and character. (Karl Sharro ‏@KarlreMarks)

You do not understand this, therefore you are an idiot.
I do not understand this, therefore it is nonsense.
(Steven Poole)

I explore neglected urban neighbourhoods;
You enjoy a vibrant cultural mix;
He gentrifies.
(Lee Jackson ‏@VictorianLondon)

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 18 September 2015

Overheards 8

They're still making-up the "overheard in Waitrose" genre:
Parent to small boy: You've got to anticipate needing the toilet, Virgil!

At Glastonbury: Is your middle name Nathaniel? I think I may have found your driving licence in the campsite. (@janinegibson )

But these are real:

Dad to son, Stokey caff: You can make chips with anything.
Son: Macaroni cheese?
Dad: Not sure if I’ve ever had macaroni cheese chips – but you can have yucca chips!

In the caff: Cheese and wine evening? The world's changed, ennit.

In the caff: Have you got into Game of Thrones yet? It’s the nuts, innit? Could I have another tea and another Lucozade please?

In the café, mum to little boy: You love the taste of coffee and lemon and olives.

On the bus, two boys:
Oh, she put conkers in her car to kill the spiders but more spiders came so she got rid of her car.
Yes, she sold it to me.

On the bus: She wanted a very vintagey olde-worlde true princess-style wedding.

In the street, gran to children: Whingeing is counterproductive!

I never do Google – I can’t – I’m not into it yet. (Slightly self-righteous tone.)

About a local painter: She just churns them out. She made £100,000 – it’s all they talk about in Chiswick.

In the Mind Shop: She tried on a skirt like Joseph and his coat of many colours.
Ditto: This is where IKEA bags come to die.

At the textile fair: In history, they didn’t know what dogs looked like, so they drew them wrong. Perhaps they didn’t know what parrots looked like in 1925.

Woman on the train: We couldn't afford Putney so we had to live in Wimbledon!

Man: I just thought, maybe they would have discovered House Of Cards by themselves, but you can't go through life like that. (@Andr6wMale)

A woman in Sainsbury's just replied to the self service checkout that automatically thanks you: "Don't thank me, I've done nothing for you." (@SummerRay)

On the bus "if it's something good, it's 'this is Britain', but if you're complaining about something it's 'this is England'". (Karl Sharro ‏@KarlreMarks )

At work – uttered in a somewhat arch tone!
I sent British Airways a strongly worded tweet about it.
Did they respond?
Not even a retweet!

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Boo & Hooray (in Quotes)

Actual farmhouse

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has just announced new marketing regulations for the use of four words that can easily be misleading — “farmhouse”, “artisanal”, “traditional” and “natural”. Farmhouse can only be used where a product has actually been made on a farm. Artisanal has to mean the ingredient was made in a single location by a “micro-enterprise” that employs fewer than 10 people. (

Hate the term 'appropriate'. Sanctimonious, managerial, snooty. (Eileen Reid ‏@SwankieSister)

Efficiency gains – does that mean “cuts”? (Bill Turnbull interviewing NHS spokesbod)

In some respects, there has been little progress on the battlefield in the literacy wars, neither side giving way, but the language describing the opposing camps has changed. Advocates of a ‘whole language’ approach rarely describe their position in these terms these days, redolent though it sounded of all things good and natural. Like a sort of literacy muesli, you could feel it building up your moral superiority... The term ‘balanced’ also had the added benefit of ‘getting your retaliation in first’ by its implication that those favouring an emphasis on phonics instruction are clearly not balanced - ‘unbalanced’ in fact. (Kevin Wheldall Its proponents now call it “balanced literacy”. "Whole language" has suffered pejoration creep.)

There are also a lot of people referred to as “sensitive guests,” which I’m pretty sure means “total jerks”. (Joel Stein in Time on concierging the super-rich, March 2015)

Here is your regular reminder that "detainee" is usually a propaganda euphemism for "prisoner". You're welcome! (@stevenpoole)

Britain calls the fence it put up in Calais to keep out migrants a "National Barrier Asset". (Daniel Trilling ‏@trillingual)

‏If the AA automatic voice on the phone tells me one more time that I am in a high priority queue (ie a queue) I shall explode. (@wmarybeard)

La insensibilidad y la imparcialidad, son nombres pomposos para la indiferencia, que es un nombre elegante para la ignorancia. (Terry Lopez ‏@terry_jb "Insensibility and impartiality are pompous names for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.")

Hackney council is currently refreshing its markets strategy – I don’t know what this means, but it seems to involve refusing licences to traders in Dalston Waste.

In Lebanon we kept calling the civil war 'the incidents' for about 14 years. In the last year we were like 'yeah it's a war actually'. (Karl Sharro ‏@KarlreMarks)

Contrary 2 #r4today fantasy: The Telegraph did NOT 'over-interpret' the Scot Office memo, it misreported it to suit its own political agenda. (‏@FredLitten)

[At a large book-selling chain] they called disciplinary action "Individual Performance Improvement". (@Lord_Steerforth )

Noah, Dan'el and Job are the three most righteous men in biblical legend. 'Righteous' there means unquestioningly obedient #theark. (F Stavrakopoulou ‏@ProfFrancesca)

‏‏Pretty Ambitious: Euphemism, [stuff] I wouldn't order if my life depended on it #masterchef (neil warner ‏@wooliferkins)

[If you reduce sugar] you will reach a point where consumer acceptability drops. (Industry spokesbod He means you will reach a point where consumers stop buying your product.)

Sepp Blatter: Fifa faces “a long and difficult road to rebuilding trust”.

What (without God) is “sacred”? (Matthew Parrish, Times Unless it means “taboo” or “untouchable”.)


Educational buzzwords: "sage on the stage" (boo!), "guide on the side" (yay!). (Neal Whitman ‏@LiteralMinded)

When it's Egypt, it an "Arab Spring" for democracy led by brave young freedom fighters. In Baltimore, it's ruthless thugs. OK. (mervyn marcano ‏@britrican, April 2015)

Why is Clegg "brave" for propping up the Tories but Sturgeon is "evil" propping up Labour? (JP Janson De Couet ‏@ostercywriter)

B and B owner: You’re turning me into some kind of hard-nosed businesswoman!
Alex Polizzi: We have to face financial realities.
(The Hotel Inspector Overstretched owner says she is “thinking big”, and that pointing out revolting toilets, moss-grown caravans and dead flies is “putting me in a box”.)

Nigel Farage: We want an honest referendum, not a stitch-up! (We want people to vote to leave the EU.)

This isn’t mindless graffiti, this is art. (BBC News)

Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant. (Tennis player Nick Kyrgios responding to criticism that escalated to racism)

You 'post', but your critics 'attack'. ( ‏@Brimshack)

From Twitter:

Being called 'intimidating' for having interests and high aspirations #everydaysexism.

Please, do tell those assholes that the word is "interesting" instead.

Story of my life!!!!

Tale as old as time ;) Happened to most women I know. Apparently it doesn't take much to intimidate men.

My personal favourite is that boys are "confident" while girls are "feisty".

"I'm not sectarian, it's the other sect that is sectarian." Running Middle East theme. (Karl Sharro ‏@KarlreMarks)

Warsaw's brutalist buildings, dutifully recreated in paper. (Wired Perhaps they think it means “carefully” or “painstakingly”. Or perhaps they are hinting that it was all a waste of time.)

Prince Charles's PR woman! Coiffed hair, pearls, handbag and a mandate to body block Michael Crick. (‏@LOS_Fisher There’s always something pejorative about coiffed or coiffure. Her hair is in an untidy ponytail.)

This is what people say when their fave is losing to Serena: "A titanic tussle, somewhat marred by the charmless and rather unsporting antics of Ms Williams." (Brienne of Snarth ‏@femme_esq)

Higher education is stuffed with overpaid administrators... (Guardian I get the impression the writer doesn’t like them much.)

The corridors of our universities are stalked by soft-footed technocrats. (Guardian March 2015 The money men may be despicable, but do they all wear Hush Puppies?)

Over-thinking makes your mind create negative scenarios and replay painful memories. (@madfactz So it doesn’t mean “thinking too much” or “working out a solution”?)

A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist. (Yes, Minister)
Strong-willed women tend to come off as cold or mean simply because they refuse to be taken for granted and/or mistreated. (@madfactz)

Lots more euphemisms and dysphemisms in my mini ebook Boo and Hooray – see sidebar.

More here, and links to the rest.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Euphemisms about Politics and Stuff (in Quotes)

By "modernising" do Blairites mean "being more right wing"? Thought so. (Calum McClure ‏@theredflag87)

'unfathomable' or 'senseless'
is often an excuse for not confronting critical issues. #CharlestonShooting (@PaulbernalUK)

Labor-relations consultant: strike buster (7 1/2 Cents by Richard Bissell)

Why are #saveILF protestors being described as "storming" or "invading" PMQs? Why not UK Govt "storming" or "destroying" disabled rights? (Zara ‏@zaranosaur)

I don't trust anyone who says "taxpayers". I am immediately wary of your pinched opinion. (@Andr6wMale)

Lower welfare, higher wages: my appeal in @guardian tomorrow for progressive Labour MPs to support our plans. (@George_Osborne By “progressive” he means “regressive”.)

Is it now considered 'moderate' to hammer the working poor? Good grief😔 #Labour need to oppose this cruel bill. (Jason Cowley)
He understands why I need to ask him questions from a "mainstream" (read: feminist) sensibility. ( To Sarah Palin, the “lamestream” media are left-wing.)

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says Corbyn is a “risk to security”. “What he really means: Corbyn won’t kowtow to the arms trade.” (Jill Gibbon)

British values – according to Nicky Morgan, these are: “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, respect for people of other faiths and other beliefs”.

"Unrealistic, back to 80s, need progressive reform (ie capitulation to austerity narrative)" etc etc etc. (Charles Holland ‏@ordinarycharles on the tsunami of anti-Corbyn rhetoric.)

Spectacular ST leader today saying that Labour is being 'infiltrated' by the hard left. I think they mean 'new members'. (Charles Holland)

AND THAT TURNED OUT TO MEAN...When people say 'religious freedom' they mean 'I want to be able to discriminate against gay people without being called a bigot.' (@MrOzAtheist And when they say "Why can't we talk about immigration?" they mean "Why can't I disapprove of immigration?".)

Urging the government to “increase funding for what he called ‘integrated healthcare’. By that Prince Charles turned out to mean, largely, homeopathy." (New Scientist June 2015)

Such a change was “strongly counterattitudinal for most college students”. That’s psychology code for "they hated the idea”. (For Argument's Sake: Evidence that Reason Can Change Minds, Tom Stafford)

Partners in Crime: “It’s all about her timeless stories and about maintaining the Christie DNA.” This translates as: If you look through a microscope, you may see a minute speck of the original story. Her books are not timeless, they are firmly rooted in their own time. Perhaps they meant “durable”.

"That's certainly an option." Translation: Let's not do that. (VeryBritishProblems ‏@SoVeryBritish)

"Anyway, I'm sure it'll be fine." Translation: I'm confident the situation will deteriorate swiftly. (VeryBritishProblems)

“The student recognizes the divine origin of the cosmos with amazement, makes efforts to understand it, and is aware that it does not originate from chaos and chance.” (Guidelines for a Spanish school course on religion.)

No human being can be truly objective. In this context, "objectivity" means "status quo" which means "continued oppression". (@FeministAspie)

More here, and links to the rest.

Sunday 13 September 2015

Inspirational Quotes 77

People only tease you because they like you. Of course.
These “social threats”, the theory goes, can make us feel just as vulnerable as physical ones. The danger zones are status (which includes the feeling that the other person will criticise you or put you down), certainty (your ability to predict an outcome), autonomy (being able to control events), relatedness (the feeling of exclusion or not belonging) and fairness (the feeling that you’re being taken advantage of). (Guardian)

Solomon Asch emphasises that, once we find ourselves in the midst of a group, we are not indifferent to it, and individuals are concerned about what others around them think. To take note of what others say and do is the only sensible thing to do. (The Psychologist, Dec 2014)

By puberty, I was already a prime target for predatory males who seek out girls with low self-esteem… and then systematically lower that esteem even further. (Kristene Perron)

It is surely easier to be happy in some neighbourhoods than others. (BPS Research Digest)

26-35: This is a more stabilising time, with your focus on career development, relationships and possibly marriage. (Times January 9 2008)

You are never taught to live in freedom. (Amish man turned out of the community. Sounds like my old school.)

I do so love being exhorted to Zen-like acceptance of my situation by people with COMPLETELY PEACHY ****ING LIVES. (@MitchBenn)

People are constantly trying to shape how you view them. In certain extreme cases, they seem to be transmitting a personal motto, such as “I have a relaxed parenting style!”; “I earn in the low six figures!”; “I’m authentic and don’t try to project an image!” ... When you meet someone extremely charming, be cautious instead of dazzled. ... As a foreigner in France, you’re constantly breaking unspoken cultural rules. (NYT Feb 2015)

I don't trust anyone who habitually uses the term "taxpayers' money". I don't trust anyone who says "that was before my time". The same goes for "at the taxpayer's expense". (Andrew Male ‏@AndrewMaleMojo)

I would hate New York in the emerging 60s. (Alex Andreou)

History. Not the expression of a divine will or of the will of a hero, but the coincidence of a thousand small events and the participation of all the people. This is difficult to accept. We believe ourselves free. (Pierre in War and Peace)

In every generation, we forget how much poorer we used to be, and then we forget that we have forgotten. (@Koenfucius)

How to convey that Science results cannot be willed different by Politics? (Helen Czerski)

The prediction that there will be trouble and conflict in the world is one that is very easy to get right. (BBC The Big Questions)

Three people to be wary of: a man who believes in the beast of Bodmin, a woman who believes in true love, and a Liberal Democrat. (Miles Kington)

This narcissistic ambivalence is the root cause of their disappointment in each - the same reason dating is so hard for some teens and 20-somethings. You don't actually want a girl, they want the possibilities of a girl, before she becomes a real person. Before you learn she likes American Idol, before you discover her annoying laugh, and, most of all, before she finds out who you really are - before you can't fool her anymore... Consider [On the Road] describes numerous encounters with really young girls.'s easier to convince a young girl (or a broken girl) that you're somebody.  ... Try that on a normal woman and you know what you get?  Fake orgasms. (

There was the failed actor who summed up his time in New York as “the 45-year insult”... In that world to be a bore was the greatest of sins... People – ie the aspirational, suburban middle class – who wanted to “get on” in life were boring... I felt like a failure for one simple reason: I WAS a failure. I didn’t have a girlfriend, I had very few friends and I was lonely...
(Cosmo Landesman, Starstruck)

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Art Shows in London, Paris and Chichester

Celts, Art and Identity
British Museum, London from 24 September. Metalwork, sculpture and artefacts by the talented Celts. Complex interlaced manuscripts, gripping beasts, mathematical spirals, knotted tendrils, gold torques, mirrors, helmets, shields and swords dredged from the Thames.

Osiris, mystères engloutis d'Egypte
Egyptian sculpture and artefacts recovered from the drowned city of Herakleion at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris until January.

Ladybird by Design
Illustrations for the popular children's books are now at the House of Illustration, Kings Cross, London. A time capsule of "ordinary" life in the 50s to the 70s.

The Fallen Woman
At the Foundling Museum in London from 25 September. If the Victorians were so buttoned-up, why was the Foundling Hospital necessary? Why did so many women "fall"? Artists of the time depicted cautionary tales.

Liberty in Fashion
Fashion and Textile Museum, London, from 9 October. How the Oxford Street department store's design studio influenced fashion from the late 19th century.

Sickert in Dieppe
Dark townscapes from the British impressionist at the Pallant Gallery, Chichester, until 4 Oct.

Vogue 100: A Century of StylePictures from fashion magazine Vogue at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 11 Feb 2016.

Dusseldorf Photography
The water towers and industrial buildings recorded by Bernd and Hilla Becher at Ben Brown Fine Arts, London until 3 October, plus their Dusseldorf followers.