Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Euphemism Goddess Meets With Pale Hecate

Euphemia, our Euphemism Goddess, already besieged by the creeping use of dysphemisms in everyday discourse, sensed that she was fighting at best a holding action against the rising tide of vulgarity in speech and manners.  First, there's the rise of use of the impudent gesture, even by Catholic maidens; then there's the seeming routineness of profanity even in the learned professions.  When is this to end?  The sheer number of neologisms or newly-emergent words that denote bodily functions or expressions of opproprium just stagger the imagination!  Also, there's that tired old bit of linguistic justification for their use: many of the old-style profane words (George Carlin's unsacred seven) were legitimate words when used by the Anglo-Saxons and therefore should not be considered profane.  Now, in my opinion, that is beside the point; languages change with the time.  All you have to do to experience that is to read the Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.  (Or the Miller's Tale, if you're into vulgarity.)

Anyway Euphemia, the Goddess of Euphemism, approached Hecate, the Goddess of Darkness, Witchcraft, and Evil, to discuss this.  She requested a sit-down, and the possibility of some accomodation.  Actually, Hecate acknowledged the problem: the coin of profanity was of late as devaluated at the Euro or the Ruble.  This concerned her greatly as it diminished her realm too. 

The two Goddesses came to recognize that part of the problem was that ol' Debbil The Media, who enjoyed tweaking sensibilities of Republicans and manifesting their urbanite coolness with their insouisance regarding the decorum of language!  Some of that was in turn due to the relative lessoning of alcohol usage by reporters.  But another culprit was the lessened supervision of children during their formative years by adults.  And it all started with Clark Gable when he first used the "D" word in some movie.

One matter of concern was the sheer number of possible offensive terms that recently emerged.  There are so many now that it staggers the ability to keep up with them, and sometimes even cunning linguists in urban settings do not understand them.  For example, Hecate took Euphemia to task because of the term she introduced, little girls' room.  This term, while it was less offensive than those male-generated terms such as loo and head and crapper, became quickly a term used with ironic overtones.  And another point, euphemisms regarding breasts may become dysphemisms over time.  Sic transit gloria boob

They both were in agreement that some terms regarding women's anatomy should be forever regarded as beyond the pale.  We won't go into specifics here, though. 

And certain acts of lésé majesté should not ever, ever occur: no one should use those terms to refer to the President, Taylor Swift, or the Governors of Twenty-seven of the fifty states.  It is permitted, however, to be an verbally abusive as you wish when it comes to Congress, some of the governmental bureaucrats, or Nancy Grace.

An issue that was unresolved, pending further discussion, was the matter of abbreviations such as W.T.F. and B.S.  Euphemia took the position that their use was allowing profanity in through the back door, while Hecate suggested that there could be noncoarse alternatives that could call for those abbreviations, such as World Track Federation and Bachelor of Science.  And I'm in full agreement with this on the latter: labeling B.S. as profane further gives ammunition to the Liberal Arts contingent in colleges and universities.  Finally, both decided that the abbreviations were okay; after all, the best they could come up with for STFU was Same Time for Gilligan.

In the world of Goddesses, watching Gilligan's Island is mighty important.  After all, how else can they learn about mortals?

Euphemia (L) and Hecate (R)


Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I neve thought of Hecate going nekkid, but that's neat.

I like our guv okay; congresspersons not so much.


bakku-shan said...

The expressions will not be less offensive if they are abbreviated.

Anonymous said...

This one is really odd. Were you using weed?

Bilbo said...

"It is permitted, however, to be an verbally abusive as you wish when it comes to Congress, some of the governmental bureaucrats, or Nancy Grace." I think I'm in love with Euphemia and Hecate. This was a great post...very imaginative. Congratulations!

Sinner Bob said...

I like my goddesses naked.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thank you Bilbo, Elvia, Bakku-Shan, and Sinner Bob!

Anon, no weed.

To depict goddesses as naked is a classical motif to signify their innosense.

Anonymous said...

I like the neologism "innosense."