Friday 24 April 2020

Euphemisms, Dysphemisms and Rhetoric

I have updated, trimmed and expanded my book on euphemisms, rhetoric and political lies. This is one of the sections I've added – but what is it about?


What do you call it when people use the same term for both the thing itself and our perception of it, or our possession of it, or our ability to know it, or our reaction to it?
Confronted by this outrage, I respond with outrage.

I am right, you are wrong: It’s your statement that’s shown to be right or wrong, when compared with reality.

Early Man lived by a different kind of time, cyclical not linear: He lived by a different method of measuring or marking the passage of time. (See also “Time is a social construct”.)

The medieval mind was different from ours: Medieval ideas were different from ours.

We create our own reality: We see reality through a filter of our own prejudices. (It’s loose use of “create”.)

We create our own reality II: By putting up a few posters and buying a hat. (I’m told. Well, if you meant “environment”, why didn’t you say so? I’ve been trying to create an entire universe through the power of my mind here.)

We have no choice. Confusingly, “choice” means both the act of choosing and the options you are choosing between. “We have no choice” often means “Of the two presented, we must choose this option”.

We must confront our fears: We must confront the things we fear. (Or does it mean “We must confront our fear of the fearful thing”?)

Children must learn to manage risk:
Children must be put at risk, so that they can learn to manage their fear of risk. (They’re not in charge of the activity holiday, they’re not the ones doing the risk assessment, but they are the ones forced to abseil down cliffs, climb mountains and descend caves.) Teenagers must then avoid risky behaviour (taking drugs and sleeping around). But adults must take risks (embark on relationships with people they hardly know).

It’s slightly inconvenient that in English (and other languages) the word “history” is ambiguous: it is used to describe both what happened in the past and the quite different study of what happened in the past." (Alex Rosenberg, How History Gets Things Wrong)

History will judge us. (Historians will judge us.)
All history is subjective. (All views of history are subjective.)

Biological sex is bigotry. (Believing in biological sex is bigotry, according to some.)

More here, and links to the rest.

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