I secretly aspire to become a master of euphemism-fu. You name me one defect on this planet, I will phrase it into a neutral, if not positive wording. Protein-challenged infantile population for starving babies, Java software engineer for I-rewrite-software-because-I-can or informed Bond University administrator are just some of the more medium entertaining examples for euphemism.
I am also rather competitive in this sector and take it almost as personal defeat if someone comes up with new terminology, more euphemistic than mine. Such as Australia's High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, in yesterdays SMH:
The most gung-ho of the judges was Melbourne's Hayne, who argued eloquently that detention must not be confused with punishment. Why? Because al-Kateb had broken no law. All he faced was non-punitive "segregation" - if need be, for life.
Non-punitive Segregation. Nice.
This al-Kateb guy ended up somewhere near Australia's coast years ago as one of the refugee boat people. He never actually wanted to stay in Australia, but no other country wanted to take him. So he was conveniently tucked away in Australia's detention centres. In this sense he is an
Involuntary inspector of governmental immigration facilities
When he finally found a caring lawyer (No euphemism here!), his case landed at the High Court challenging Australia's infinite detention practice.
Which I support in principle, because it provides a rich flow for more euphemisms:
- Suicidal adults in these camps are community members studious in near-death experiences,
- self-mutilating kids are emerging surgical experts, and
- the camps in Australia's deserts are global-warming research outposts.
Australian government officials (yes, 3 words, 3 euphemisms) are very gifted in euphemizing. Definitely the hands-down winner so far is Attorney General Philip Ruddock when he commented on the fact that David Hicks' mental state deteriorated after years in Guantanamo Bay:
Some people do not cope well with solitary confinement.
Personally seen on TV. Simple and elegant.
It's only too sad that Australia's media landscape is too governmentally adjusted; they did not show it a second time.