Monday 20 February 2023

Yet More Euphemisms in Quotes

We can't afford a pay rise, but would you be prepared to accept some meaningless platitudes about how much your work is worth? (Cartoonist Fran)

Hey! I'm so glad you reached outI'm actually at capacity / helping someone else who's in crisis /dealing with some personal stuff right now, and I don't think I can hold appropriate space for you.(@diligenda)

The original TikTok video has: We’re moving in different directions in life, I don’t have the capacity to invest in our friendship any longer, I’ve been re-evaluating many areas of my life recently, I don’t want to disappoint your expectations. One commenter even called it “therapy speak”!

China is running out of children, and lifting restrictions. You no longer need a marriage certificate to register a birth. Couples can have unlimited numbers of children. It claims the new rules will “perfect birth registrations" and “strengthen the population service system”.
 ("Streamline", "simplify", "overhaul" and “rationalise” are often used in similar circumstances.) 

Odd isn’t it – when some are faced with a challenge they dislike, it becomes "bullying". But when they are robust in defence of their position, it’s admirable assertiveness. (@SVPhillimore)

CBT: You're wrong for being upset about your oppression and neglected pain. You're over-reacting. Stop it. Mindfulness: You can't control the future. Be in the present. Oh, you're in pain 24/7 including the present? Uh... take a deep breath? (@alanasaltz. It's the same old "Stop feeling sorry for yourself", and "If you stop thinking about it, it will go away".)

"Each week we'll be joined by a special guest star" she announced (TV-speak for "Our ratings have reached rock-bottom"). (Victor Lewis-Smith on the dying days of That’s Life! The programme featured a rubber rhino that jumped on a cake replica of the Foreign Office.)

Is "vicarious embarrassment" a thing to say in English? (when you feel ashamed in someone else’s place) In Dutch we say "plaatsvervangende schaamte". Seems like there's no real common/standard English term for this? (@JuPitch84. We’re not supposed to feel it – we’re supposed to enjoy others’ embarrassment.)

Is 'struggles with empathy' a euphemism for psychopath? (Maria McCann) 

I was called feisty by one colleague whilst another one was whispering “He means scary, he’s being polite”. (@RachelTurnham)

After gay MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle gave a speech about the new housing ombudsperson, Tory MP Jonathan Gullis told him he had a “flair for dramatics” and should “audition for panto”. 
(May 11, 2022) 

The basement of No. 81 was home from July 1934 to the Caravan Club that advertised itself as "London's Greatest Bohemian Rendezvous said to be the most unconventional spot in town" which was code for being gay-friendly. (Mike Iglesias)

Gobsmacked at that picture of PM strutting around a hospital without a mask. (@HumzaYousaf)

The great and the good sermonise about saving the planet while whizzing about in private jets. (The Week)

At low tide creatures are revealed or exposed, depending on whether you are predator or prey. (Autumnwatch)


Nurses, ambulance workers, rail workers, postal workers, teachers are not the enemies of the people. They are the people. (@paddygrant)

Say no to: “girlbossing”, “lean-in” feminism, “inspirational” talks, and nonsense EDI initiatives that reduce the impact of gender inequality to childcare and the number of women on committees(@lrbobrien. Perhaps this is more "narrow redefinition".)

Interpreting someone's mental state incorrectly is very different from not being able to conceive that there is a mental state behind the observable behavior. The former happens to all of us, the latter only to people with neurological disorders within the autism spectrum. (Lisa Zunshine)

If anyone can identify into a category, it no longer exists. (@inmyownfashion2)


In general, do you like material things like luxury clothes and sports cars?
(Yougov survey. What are second-hand clothes and buses made of?)

These aren’t the thoughtless retro shops that we had growing up. Instead, they’re now curated and considered. (Times. Translation: ten times the price. Sought-after “military overpants” go for £98. And somehow this is maaaahvellous. Plus, everything in the past was bad, but stuff in the present, even if pretty much exactly the same, is new, different and wonderful.)

Rishi Sunak boasted of taking money from “deprived urban areas” to help wealthy towns. A leaked video shows the former chancellor saying that Labour “shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas” and that “needed to be undone”. (
New Statesman) 

Boris Johnson believes helping struggling families to pay their bills would be "shovelling" money to appease "bleeding hearts". (Mirror May 2022)

The five-star hotel in Crete where Dominic Raab was spotted describes itself as a "sparkling boutique resort for the privileged and perceptive". (I think this means “expensive”.) (@johnestevens)

This government's "levelling up" mission is looking increasingly like "you may perhaps go up one level if you aren't already wealthy, but don't aim too high", which isn't quite what the manifesto implied. (@SophcoCooper)

We all need to consume, obviously. “Consumerism” is when consumption becomes a religion, when we think it's the main source of our well-being, as we are encouraged to by advertising. (@Petercoville. He admits that the crossover point is a “grey area”.)

An offensive term that I'm seeing over and over is "Handouts". A word resultant of targeted Tory rhetoric to make those in poverty feel deep shame – even in a time of national economic crisis. (@C_Fitz_)

Everyone needs a ‘hand-up’ at some point in their life, that’s what social security is all about. (@herloyalvoice)


"You may have a point there" means "You must be barmy to suggest that".

"We are committed to doing X" means "Not a chance".

"I stand firmly behind..." or "... has my full support" means he'll get the heave-ho before tomorrow morning's Today programme. I particularly like "I stand firmly behind..." because that's the easiest place from which to bury the hatchet in "..."'s back.



Multiple places I'd worked at in NYC had basically fired their senior editors (read, all women over 40) so they could pay younger editors significantly less to do the same jobs. (Camille Loft. To do the same jobs badly, I’d add.)

Must be willing to work in a fast-paced unpredictable high-energy environment.

must be willing to work: underpaid
fast-paced: overly demanding
unpredictable: disorganized
high-energy: life-draining and demoralizing

(@tattudeguyWA. Formerly "used to working with difficult people".)

We don’t “fill jobs” here at Consolidated Tank and Foundry – we offer opportunities for the growth and enrichment of the individual. (Punch, 1965)

More here, and links to the rest.

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