Reader Question: Linguistic Legerdemain?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: One thing that grinds my gears is the hijacking of the language. Take ‘frinstance the weigh station pictured below. It says “Motor Carrier Service Center.”

I suppose they check your oil and wiper blades. Or squeegee your windshield. Or have air for your tires. Just call it a weigh station for Chrissakes!!! I should stop there next time I’m passing thru and see if I can get a few psi into my tires. Although the AGW’s as you call them would not take kindly to the joke. I used to listen to Michael Savage when he was carried on the radio here: with his tagline “Borders, Language, and Culture.” Boy is that ever true! Hijacking the language has a huge effect, and we conservatives typically never paid it much mind. “Oh, they really mean (the non PC term). They’re just trying to be nice.

But we all know what it truly is.” That may have been the case in the 80s and such, but after the “long march through the institutions,” the meanings themselves have changed. Not due to truth, of course, but by way of ubiquitous acceptance. It really pisses me off. Keep up the good fight!

My reply: Linguistic legerdemain annoys me, too. The other day, I witnessed a “parking services” vehicle cruising the area around the coffee shop where I hang out most days. The “service” provided? Tickets – and boots.

How about Social Security “contributions”? And DMV “customers”?

Yes, agreed. It is critical to call out such euphemistic and deliberately misleading language. Calling things by their right names is the first step toward getting things right.

Thanks for the kind words!

. . .

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  1. This reminds me of cities and counties forming their own DOT and making a killing on commercial vehicles.

    Even a tiny county that contains a town of 340 people and another town of about 30 with only about 500 people in the county bought a set of portable scales and formed their own DOT. It’s a money-maker. It should be illegal.

    • Spot on rich, I love his take on how “shell shock” morphed into “post traumatic stress disorder”. George Carlin was a prophet as much as a (greatly missed) comedian.


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