Does anyone else have trouble keeping up with what is and isn’t politically correct to say? Terminology changes so fast I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say. I think if we change the verbiage for something, it should have to stay that way for at least 20 years.
Who is it, exactly, who decides what is PC to say? I don’t know either, so let’s just call them the Council of Dunderheadery (COD). I imagine they sit around at their meetings eating spray cheese on stale saltines while making weighty decisions about how to make parts of life, the parts that aren’t necessarily sunshine and lollipops, sound like they are.
After all, if we keep things sounding nice, then we won’t really have to face the messy bits of life. Then we can all pretend everything is dandy and we won’t have to take off our fake smiles.
For instance, the council has decided it is unjustly cruel for Aunt Edna to go to a nursing home. Aunt Edna should instead go to a long-term care facility. Doesn’t that sound more pleasant?
They don’t once think we (the rest of us whose brains still function) realize no matter what you call Aunt Edna’s new living digs, she’s still going to be eating processed food from a blender, and will be having her backside wiped by someone named Earl who’s only wiping butts because his mother threatened to kick him out of her basement if he didn’t get a job.
COD has also decided that when Aunt Edna is smothered with a pillow by Earl, she won’t have been killed by a psychopathic maniac; she’ll have passed on at the hands of someone who has a history of mental illness. Then, Aunt Edna’s funeral won’t be planned by an undertaker or mortician, but a funeral director. He’s the guy who will help the family decide what to do with Auntie’s remains, because remains sounds better than dead body or carcass.
Thankfully for the rest of us, the council isn’t just concerned about Aunt Edna. They’re also highly concerned about us women who may have a few extra pounds on our skeleton. They’ve decided instead of being fat, overweight women are curvy, full-figured or women of size. However, all of you overweight men are in the clear, and are still, indeed, just fat dudes.
If you have a drug problem, COD is watching out for you, too. Let’s say you’ve become hooked on heroin. You’re not a drug addict; you’re merely suffering from a chemical dependency. And when you’ve lost all of your money because of your chemical dependency, you won’t have to move to the ghetto. The council has decided that you’ll get to move to an economically depressed neighborhood. Best of all, when you get a job as a stripper to move away from your economically depressed neighborhood, you don’t have to stress about the stigma attached to the word stripper. You can now be an exotic dancer and work at a gentlemen’s club, which sounds super classy.
I’d like to propose that we fire, I’m sorry, downsize the current council and upgrade to a new one. One that will come up with ways for us to be nice, not just say nice things. Maybe if we did nice things rather than just say nice things, nursing homes and ghettos wouldn’t have the negative connotation they have. Let’s face it, soon the term “long-term care facility” is going to sound just as negative as nursing home. Then the committee will have to pull another idiotic euphemism out of their collective arse even though all of us, Aunt Edna included, know no matter what you call it, it’s still going to smell like blender food and butts.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. She’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.