The Linguistc Resistance

The militarization of language bothers me, as it bothers many people. "Collateral damage" has so infiltrated our conversations around the office that even after the legal director pointed out how much we were deploying the term, people kept on using it. Ironically enough, the military avoids the term. What began life as a euphemism has now become so freighted as to require its own euphemisms.

(Something similar sooner or later happens to all euphemisms, I think. The process is almost healthy; it means we still have at least a little bit of linguistic conscience left. "Ethnic cleansing" is the prize example; it made the descent from evasion to epithet quite quickly.)

In any case, now that Pentagon briefings are part of the daily news cycle, I'm guessing that it's only a matter of time before people start referring to hats as "head-mounted clothing systems."