Objective criteria having become optional, self-esteem is bidding to become a fundamental right. In a contest between self-control and self-indulgence, it used to be that higher self-esteem would result when self-control won. Now, combined with a sense of entitlement, self-esteem can free an individual from accountability for his or her actions.

This huge shift in meaning has required creative thinking by some of our leading researchers in education, psychology and medicine. By raising obfuscation to new heights, they have obtained weapons of mass euphemasia.

Dust my Broom notes one such flare-up in the decades long self-esteem epidemic. The cause of this disease is known. It is a mutation of the “society-of-victims” mentality, and it escaped into the wild because of poor containment practices in the CDC’s Virulent Thought Labs. The vaccine, clear language and clear thought, is in short supply.

The o-word [whole thing]

Does anyone remember a time when fat people were just fat? In a move forward to flesh out the truth, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is debating on whether the word obese is too harsh for children.

At risk for overweight seems such a strange term to use for someone who is actually overweight.

Doctors are trying to figure out the best way to tell children that they are fat, without using the word obese, and certainly without using the word fat. The intent is to avoid damaging the child’s self-esteem. This is done by lying to the child. Awkwardly. You are at risk for overweight ought to be You are at risk for becoming overweight, but since the person is, in fact, already overweight you can’t say that.

It reminds me of the movement to use purple instead of red for grading tests and homework. Red is harsh, purple isn’t. Purple helps kids maintain high, if unwarranted, self-esteem. That will be true until the purple=error meme replaces the red=error one. A sure sign that this has occurred will be when Barney the Dinosaur and Tinky Winky the teletubby have their colors changed.

But, back to today’s more weighty self-esteem issue. As a matter of medical necessity, is it proper to tell someone under the age of 18 who is 5’2” and weighs 250 pounds that they are obese? Or is it better to say “You are at a risk for overweight.”

If you say the latter, are you hoping they’ll ask at what degree of risk? So you can say, “Oh, a hundred-forty percent and rising.”

As a public service, TOC’s medical science research staff offer the following for inclusion in CDC’s Handbook of Politically Correct Medical Terminology:

You are horizontally challenged.
This has the advantage of additional obfuscation. Anorexics would be included.

You remind me of Nero Wolfe.
You don’t have any purple on your homework assignments, and you need to use an extra-large chair.

You’re Kennedyesque.
Self explanatory.

2 thoughts on “Euphemasia”

  1. No euphemism there, methinks. Should the Feds make stomach stapling mandatory prior to forced liposuction, or just take them out and shoot them?Your link is sadly sobering, but obesity is no more individually serious than anorexia, to keep within the bounds of eating disorders, and there’s no hue and cry to force feed Lindsay Lohan or Keira Knightly. What is the government’s job here? At the moment they’ve declared an obesity epidemic and then started to mess with the language in order to lighten the impact – so those kids in your link can maintain their self-esteem. I think it would help them if society just stuck to calling them fat so they could aspire to raise their self-esteem via a little self-control. If their parents are concerned about the kids’ feelings, maybe they could exercise a little control, too.