Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865)


The word euphemism comes from the Greek word ευφημία (euphemia), meaning “the use of words of good omen” which in turn is derived from the Greek root-words eu (ευ), “good/well” + pheme (φήμι) “speech/speaking”. The eupheme was originally a word or phrase used in place of a religious word or phrase that should not be spoken aloud; etymologically, the eupheme is the opposite of the blaspheme (evil-speaking).

I sauntered down to the book store on Main Street and picked up Carlin’s When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?*

This quick read mostly consists of short little after-thoughts besides recaps of his old gigs.

He takes some time to discuss euphemisms; hence the Wiki reference.

For instance, George points out that we supposedly refer to white and dark meat on Turkey Day because the Victorian English Aristocrats felt it unseemly to refer to succulent plump legs and juicy breasts. Hahaha

A mole or blemish becomes a beauty mark.

As an aside, he notes the term nonprofit. Then he insists that the proper term should be not-for-profit because the latter phrase indicates more clearly that the enterprise in question never had any intention of making money in the first place.

One might reserve a hotel room that comes with a complimentary brunch. Carlin feels that free donuts sounds more honest.

Many of these euphemisms are going by the wayside.

Letterman actually said ‘penis‘ last night. He started off with ‘your deal‘ and used that euphemism for his top-ten slam on Weiner.

Can you imagine Jackie Gleason referring to his penis while screaming his weekly rants at Alice? Johnny Carson certainly would not say penis in 1965! But he would force Ames to keep that hatchet in the upper leg area of that wooden cut-out.


Frankly the term ‘junk‘ is a hell of a lot funnier to me for some reason! Ha

I do not know exactly how the subject would come up in the context of a dinner party, but I certainly would be more prone to speak some phrase like horse-leavings rather than horseshit.

On the other hand, every good writer I visit on the web uses euphemisms and blasphemies to avoid repetition and to juice up the narrative! We are dealing with metaphors and similes most of the time while we euphemise and blasphemise after all.

The method represents how we think, how we categorize, how we remember things, and how we sell our goods.

We find this language pattern in politics of course.

George takes a couple pages to discuss UFO buffs. He wonders why people will use the term ‘buff’ to refer to these star gazing enthusiasts but never use the term in conjunction with Christian enthusiasts.

As he puts it, UFO buffs:

…are made to seem like kooks and quaint dingbats who have the nerve to believe that, in an observable universe of trillions upon trillions of stars, and most likely many hundreds of billions of potentially inhabitable planets, some of those planets may have produced life-forms capable of of doing things that we can’t do.

On the other hand those who believe in an eternal, all powerful being, a being who demands to be loved and adored unconditionally and who punishes and rewards according to his whims are thought to be worthy, upright, credible people. (p.12)

George has a point. I mean my anthropological readings four decades ago would refer to shamans. I often thought: then Monseigneur Reredon at the Basilica of St. Mary’s must have been a shaman too.

Is buff a blaspheme?

I don’t know. Sometimes when you take a closer look at a concept it loses form!

I do know that in the Military BUFF is an acronym for big ugly fat fuck! haahahah

I mean repubs might call the dems Godless, secular, pro-abortion, Muslim sympathizing, liberal fools.

Whilst I might refer to repubs as scum sucking NAZI racist pigs.

But there ya go.

I mean euphemes and blasphemes are merely omens for good and evil.

*2004, by George Carlin, Hyperion NYNY


7 thoughts on “EUPHEMES & BLASPHEMES

    1. Oh I am so glad you liked it!

      Carlin will suffer from potty mouth and a number of maladies, but he got me laughin and thinkin the last few days.

      Hey, you changed things around here.

      Good Job!

  1. Monseigneur Reredon is clearly a shaman. The difference is that those we call shamans come from tribes which do not practice agriculture and hence do not have the bureaucracy of government. Once a society settles in one place (agriculture) and develops towns, government becomes a necessity to coordinate the defense of the town.

    The war leader then demands the power to draft everyone else and to tax them to pay for the defenses. He becomes a king. That becomes an inherited position for social reasons, but those who inherit often have as little aptitude for government as George W. Bush had following his more talented father. So people begin to wonder why they are paying taxes to the new asshole in office.(Nope. No euphemism here.) Political scientists call these doubt a challenge to the legitimacy of the government.

    A major defense against such challenges to governmental legitimacy is to bring in the shaman and have him bless the government. (See Emperor Constantine making Christianity the state religion.)

    Then in the case of the Roman Empire when the western empire fell and the local aristocrats retreated into their local gated communities/castles, the only remaining semblance of larger government structures was the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops, Dukes and Barons became much the same, all with clerks who could read and write because they were taught by the church.

    Thus we get a jumped up shaman who became part of the government bureaucracy which was also the organized church. As part of the bureaucracy titles of office were assigned – Bishop, Monseigneur, Arch Bishop, and so on.

    The Catholic Church and most of the protestant ones today have not yet given up the fantasy that somehow they should have governmental powers to control the police and courts. Worse they also fantasize that they should be allowed to use police powers to restrict the personal behavior they don’t like of anyone living in the geographic areas they claim jurisdiction over. That jurisdictional claim is quite governmental.

    Shamans are confusing themselves with governmental bureaucrats today.

  2. Good to see you as always Richard!

    You got me laughing today:

    “So people begin to wonder why they are paying taxes to the new asshole in office.(Nope. No euphemism here.) ” hahahahah

    I have so much to say. I cannot find my rant on the find in Turkey; 13000 years old. Magnificent structures carved and erected by hunter-gatherers. It is pictured on the cover of National Geographic this month. I think q and nobody else was interested. hahahaha

    I think your reference deals with the second estate which was decimated by folks like Henry VIII.

    Yet Billy Graham’s racist prick son advised Bush as Carlin points out in his 300 page rant. hahahahah

    Anyway, great to see ya!

    1. Thanks. I was finishing an associates degree in computer science and had lost my password to wordpress, so posting didn’t work and I didn’t have the time to track the password down.

      I was recently reminded that Billy Graham senior was advising Richard Nixon in the 1950’s. I actually voted absentee for Nixon in 1968, probably because I was a young stupid Army Captain in Germany with no information other than what was available through the Stars and Stripes and Time Magazine. I have never voted for a Republican in a general election again and I will not. The Grahams are simply no good and never have been worth anything.

  3. I wonder what we’d find out if Americans were polled and asked if they were more inclined to believe George Carlin or a politician or their shaman? This makes me think about politicians and shamans. I realize they’re more alike than not.

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