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October 30, 2006

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Well, one could view it as the natural cycling of terminology, which is constantly undergoing change like sand dunes on the beach. Taboo language undergoes the same sort of cycle, with euphemisms replacing offensive language, and the euphemism itself eventually become taboo, etc. Or the reverse (which Liberman describes), where we're the de-vulgarization of "suck" and "pimp."

It's not as if people don't get scared (or don't like to be scared, if the popularity of really creepy -- heh -- movies would indicate). We just have different ways to refer to these things.

Incidentally, Anthony Burgess used this in the vocabulary he invented for A Clockwork Orange, where Alex and his mates voiced approval of their dastardly doings with the term "real horrorshow." (Adapted from Russian, admittedly.)

LANGUAGE IS USAGE. DIE PRESCRIPTIVIST PIG. PS: I AM NOT A KOOK

Rone! Sweetheart! You, a kook? My dear, anyone can tell from your sophisticated syntax and clever use of the caps-lock key that your sanity is beyond question. I'd like to reward you for your thoughtful and sensitive comment with your choice of books from my personal library: Roger von Oech's instructive "A Whack on the Side of the Head" (not that you need it!) or Robert Hartwell Fiske's "The Dimwit's Dictionary" (just, you know, because).
Fondly,
Nancy

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