Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Semantics Roadshow

A bit of seriousness today, because let's face it, Toddler Mauled By Dog ain't funny in any context. The guilty mutt is no more, which is obviously a good thing - I would hope that I needn't have to convince either of my readers that domestic ownership of Dobermans is wildly inappropriate. How it met its end, though, is my bone of contention. Okay, almost a joke there, apologies.

As always, we are told that the Doberman has been "destroyed": Do they blow them up with SemTex? Vapourize them with lasers? Why this hyperbolic word? "Killed" is the honest, simple one. "Put Down" will do if you need a euphemism. My confidence in public safety is in no way increased by the implication that the damned animal has been dismembered and scattered to the four winds. Dead will do fine, thanks.

And on the same day - more predictably this time - the US President pardons a Thanksgiving turkey (there is a funnier picture doing the rounds, but in the day's spirit of seriousness you'll have to find it yourselves). Again, there are a whole host of words to apply to this trite, self-deluding spectacle. "Reprieve", "clemency", "mercy" - all hyperbole perhaps, but it's that kind of show. But "pardon"? What - one's brain splutters in the asking - could possibly be the bird's crime? What transgression could even the most paranoid country on Earth concievably have found to forgive a domestic fowl? Is it a terrorist turkey? Is it part of the "Aviary of Evil"? Is there something in that hamstringing political scripture they call a "Constitution" that proscribes strutting around a paddock making "gobble gobble" noises?

Turkey Pardons President - now that would be a story.

Pardon me while I destroy something...

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