One of my passions is simple, clear language. As a former (and still occasional journalist), I delighted  in cutting through pretense, bombast and cliches. Journalism and public policy circles are especially good places to find bad language, with terms like “totally destroyed” (as opposed to only slightly destroyed?), “brutal axe murder” (as opposed to a gentle axe murder?) and “grim task.” Main Street and Wall Street are a perfect storm of cliches and when the honeymoon is over I swear I’ll throw someone under a bus.

Bad language shows up a lot in consumer marketing and public relations. Here are some examples of  “pretense enhancement mechanisms,” a fancy word for puffery:

Dog food called a “nutrient management system.”

A church called a “community worship center.”

Bathroom soap called a “hand cleansing system.”

A prison called a “correctional institution.”

A trailer park called a “landscaped community.”

Toiler paper called a “personal hygiene system.”

Cow dung called “diary nutrients.”

A birth called a “pregnancy outcome.”

Mechanics called “service technicians.”

Torture called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Toothpaste called an “oral hygience maintenance system.”

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