Friday, September 21, 2007

All Euphemisms, All the Time

Today on TV I heard about police interviewing persons of interest in a shooting, and then I saw ads for Sunsweet plum juice and an IUC for women who don't want to become pregnant. (Perhaps I have a suspect prune device.)

6 comments:

Glenn Fleishman said...

Even better, there's no legal definition of person of interest. It's used as if it means something. But it does not. One source for that: American Journalism Review, but search for "person of interest" and "no legal standing" and you find quite a lot.

Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

The comment about "person of interest" is somewhat reminiscent of something a friend told me. One of his pet peeves is reading news stories that describe somebody who's drunk in public (but not driving) as being "over the legal limit" when referring to their blood-alcohol level.

Sure, there's a "legal limit" for your blood-alcohol level if you want to operate a motor vehicle, but there's no "legal limit" for the amount of alcohol in your system if you're just hanging out in a park.

Causing a disturbance, of course, is another matter, but there ain't no law against simply having a high amount of alcohol in your body.

Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

Maybe this is a naive question, but what does "IUC" even stand for? "Intra-Uterine Contraption"?

Bill said...

I believe the C was for "contraceptive." I guess studies showed that a different abbreviation was less likely to cause pelvic inflammatory disease.

page2 said...

I think "person of interest" came into wide use after the Richard Jewell case, when authorities thought they needed something else to call someone who might turn out not to be the perpetrator. The British have a term, "helping the police with their inquiries."

Brian Cubbison

Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

If they call it "IUC" with C for "contraceptive", as opposed to the more common "IUD" with D for "device", then this might count as a reverse euphemism, since "contraceptive" is a more explicit and less vague word than "device".