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EUPHEMISM: THE LANGUAGE OF EVASION
October 27, 2009
 
I was on hold, listening to the music, when a man's voice interrupted to apologize for the delay. "All of our agents are currently handling other customers," he said. Really? That mental picture occupied me until it was my turn. Don't the other customers mind being handled? What do they do to them, exactly, and who does it? Do you get to choose which agent handles you? Can you request a private place for this potentially-embarrassing procedure, so people can't see them handling you?

Or at the bank: it says in the small print that there's a penalty for early withdrawal. Another pleasing mental cartoon: A bland bank officer sits at his desk, going over his figures. A pair of feet is all we can see of the corpse that turns slowly above the chair across from him. Somebody must have made an early withdrawal.

And "Our alert, uniformed personnel are standing by to assist you." I don't know -- it just sounds a little scary. Assist me doing what? And just how alert are they? A wild-eyed man in as SS-looking getup strides purposefully toward a terrified matron carrying her groceries across the parking lot. Thanks, she manages to stammer, I think I can take it from here.

What else, what else? Oh, of course: "In God we trust." All others pay cash.

Ephemism -- the language of evasion. The news is full of it, from the inspiring names given recent wars to the wacky rhetoric of the health care debate. But truth is a potent thing: we can hide most of our menace under the cloak of a fake helpfulness, but a bit of it will peek through the veil and give us away.

Are there more? You bet there are! Send me yours, and I'll share them.

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Sunday, November 8 Book Party for Jesus Wept Come to a book party at St. Luke's. Metuchen NJ for Barbara Crafton's most recent book. Barbara will preach at both 8am and 10am, and then read from her work and sign copies, which will be for sale. 732-548-4308
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Yesterday's eMo mentioned stevia, and many of you wondered what it was. Stevia is a plant, native to South America, whose leaves have been used for centuries as an excellent non-caloric sweetener. You can buy it in powdered or liquid form in health food stores and in many supermarkets. I also added it twice in the hot cocoa recipe, but you shouldn't: add it at the end.
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