Posts tagged ‘language’

November 9th, 2015

Language Rebrands Politics

by Christopher O'Brien

By State Senator Joe Markley

Acerbic comedian and commentator George Carlin hated euphemisms, believing they weaken language and muddle discourse. He used Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an example—an eight-syllable phrase so unwieldy it became an acronym: PTSD.

Sen. Joe Markley

Sen. Joe Markley

The affliction now known as PTSD was originally called Shell Shock. Coined in World War I, these two alliterative syllables perfectly communicated the cause, nature, and severity of the diagnosis. During World War II, Shell Shock became Battle Fatigue; in Vietnam, Battle Fatigue got dumped for PTSD.

Those four letters are so ill-defined that now they can apply to car crash survivors as well as tortured prisoners of war. Frankly, I wonder if our veterans would get better treatment if they had Shell Shock instead of PTSD,

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