Euphemistic Language: Penn State Story is NOT Just a “Sex Scandal”

I have to agree:

Media criticized: Penn State isn’t a ‘sex scandal’

Self-proclaimed “tech culture journalist” Xeni Jardin has criticized the media for using “sex scandal” in reporting the turmoil at Penn State, notes Steve Myers of the Poynter media training institute.

Jardin tweeted: “Media dudes: a “sex scandal” is when someone has an affair. Raping children is something else.”

Choose your words more carefully, media outlets. Also, stubborn, mulish celebrities:

Alec Baldwin Twitter

To be fair, he later changed it to "molestation", but it was funny seeing his passive-aggressive resentment after being called out on his words.

It’s times like these that I really, really miss George Carlin. I recall what he had to say on the subject of “euphemistic language” … language meant to conceal, or obfuscate, reality in some way.

You can’t be afraid of words that speak the truth. I don’t like words that hide the truth. I don’t like words that conceal reality. I don’t like euphemisms or euphemistic language. And American english is loaded with euphemisms. Because Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent a kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it. And it gets worse with every generation. For some reason it just keeps getting worse.

Of course, the big example he uses is the incremental change of the term “shell shock” eventually being called “post-traumatic stress disorder”, a term devoid of its horrific, historical roots … detached and clinical.

Paralleling his charge, I have to wonder if maybe institutionalized cover-ups and systemic blindness towards the actions of men like Jeff Sandusky might actually be mitigated if the media stopped referring to it as “child abuse”, “sex scandal”, “abuse scandal”, etc., and started using the terms child rape or molestation in the headlines. Maybe if Paterno, whose memory of being “informed” by Mike McQueary appears fuzzy about terms like “fondling” or “horsing around” had instead heard McQueary say “CHILD RAPE” he wouldn’t have seemingly ignored the issue, because how could anyone ignore that statement? A child was being raped.

I mean, we’ve only had well over a decade of media saturation from the massive and ongoing Catholic Church scandals … you’d think we’d all get it by now. You think people would have started understanding what you get when you choose institutions and “legacies” over the helpless and the victimized. You’d think “good” men would not stand by while evil was being done.

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