Bodyguards are no longer bodyguards. They're now executive protection specialists.
Upscale tobacco shops no longer sell used pipes. They're estate pipes.Nor did the Pacific Gas & Electric nuclear power plant lose money last year. What really happened was this: "Gross income was insufficient to cover normal operating expenses, and thus had a depressing effect on earnings."
In other words, the abuse of language continues.
The latest examples have been gathered by the National Council of Teachers of English. So far, it seems, it has not been a good year.
A "friendly" receptionist, for example, isn't good enough these days. Modern employers are looking for those with the ability to liaise effectively.
And old people are no longer senior citizens. These days, they're chronologically gifted. The Smith Ranch retirement community in California has gone even further. Instead of retirement, they use the word disengagement "to signify this different stage of life."
When in doubt, the new rule seems to be this: Always use extra words. A senior vice president at GE wanted to say that exporting is hard, but wise. It came out this way: "Globalization is difficult to implement and achieve, but the long-term rewards are that you wind up in an enviable and defensible market position."
Big words will also do - especially words seldom heard before. Why have women been buying fewer clothes lately? A Dean Witter Reynolds analyst insisted it isn't because of higher prices. It's that women are overinventoried.
Similarly, the Montblanc pen company is loathe to admit its latest model is made of plastic. In reality, says Montblanc, it's crafted of precious polished resin. Which is plastic.
Razors have become hair removal systems, wool is now altitute fleece, poor is psychosocially deprived, and insurance policies have turned into wealth creation policies. Libraries don't buy books anymore; they acquisition them. Nor do they cancel magazine subscriptions; they deselect them.
Stock brokers, meanwhile, will do all they can to avoid the word "crash." When the Dow plunged over 500 points in October 1987, it was referred to as nothing more than an abrupt downdraft in the equity markets.
Sex researchers no longer describe sexual activity as sexual activity. It's now fertility behavior.
In Oregon, a university professor has gone beyond assigning his students reading. Instead, he asks them to interact with print.
And there's no reason to see evil in hostile takeover artists. In truth, corporate raiders are nothing more than unaffiliated corporate restructurers who seek to take advantage of suboptimal asset allocation.
If you're looking for the Budget Division of the New York Housing Authority, you won't find it anymore. It's been renamed the Salary and Personnel Action Implementation Division.
In California, political fund-raisers are seeking to tangibilitize grass roots. That means getting supporters to send donations.
And an attorney in the same state, representing a man charged with murder, insisted on his innocence this way: "He was unable to conform his conduct to the law."
Meter maids have become traffic safety assistants, prisons are prerelease centers and the New York public library now provides cassettes for print-handicapped persons.
Looking for the dump? In most places, they're called landfills. In Kansas City, they've gone a step further. There, the city dump is a resource development park.
I decided to try stringing some of these phrases together. It came out this way:
A chronologically gifted male, upset at the recent abrupt downdraft in the equity markets, and finding himself suddenly psychosocially deprived, was unable to conform his conduct to the law during breakfast at his disengagement community. He will be spending the next 40 years in a prerelease center. His friends are urged to tangibilitize his appeals fund.