25 October 2012

Euphemisms, Nidal Hasan and Christina Hendricks

Euphemism is defined as "an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh".

Nidal Hasan is a US army military psychiatrist who killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base. Here is his mugshot:

Christina Hendricks is a talented young actress whose charm is exceeded only by... nothing, actually.

What the heck could these two have in common, you will ask immediately? Relax, there are no parallels at all between a murderer and a beauty. Only a small language problem, which is why the definition of the word "euphemism" starts this post. And the fact that the two articles came out on the same day...

You see, the Defense Department is battling like mad against the only logically possible definition of Nidal Hasan's murderous rampage in Fort Hood, which is, simply put, a terrorist act. The formal reason for that?
"The Department of Defense is committed to the integrity of the ongoing court martial proceedings of (Hasan) and for that reason will not at this time further characterize the incident that occurred at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Yeah... I am sure the DoD is concerned with the sensitivity of the generals, colonels, etc who sit in the court. Flimsy as hell, that excuse, isn't it? So for now the official definition of what Mr Hasan did is "workplace violence". And of course, many, especially the survivors of the shooting, are not happy with this unexpected (or is it expected? you tell me) coyness of the military.

And what about the charming Ms Hendricks? She, it turn, protests against a euphemism used to describe her considerable charms, which is: "full-figured". She considers it rude.

Since I understand the reasoning that drives both DoD and Christina Hendricks, I would suggest a compromise for both cases:
  • Let's call what happened in Fort Hood a "work-related accident". There even is a formal definition of that term, so the DoD officials will be able to easily file the whole shebang.
  • As for Ms Hendricks: how about "boundlessly charming"?


Shaun Downey said...

I would call her buxom

SnoopyTheGoon said...

She wouldn't take it likely. Weight - neutral "honey" will do nicely, methinks.

Dick Stanley said...

I'm betting it won't be much longer before the feds have to reintroduce the draft. Because volunteering will no longer be in vogue, even to the limited extent that it still is.

Because the military has screwed up the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan so badly, that even an 18-year-old who wants to follow in his father's or grandfather's military footsteps has to think twice about volunteering.

And such kids are the majority of the less than 10 percent of eligible young Americans who now serve in the military. The Hasan case just underscored the problem, i.e. you can't trust the military to do its job. They can't even maintain security on an Army fort in the middle of Texas. They let that creep Hasan run amok and now they're just covering their butts.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I find this hiding behind artificial terms a bit stupid, but let's see what they will say after the trial is over.

Dick Stanley said...

The Army knew all about his Jihadist sentiments for months before he killed those people. They knew but they were too cowardly to do anything about him.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

The big question is whether it will change the Army's attitude. Knowing the military ways and seeing their kvetching with words right now I have my doubts.