As long as you go on calling things by false names, there’s a good chance people will go on buying the lie. We can go on pretending that every morning our faces will be caressed by mist although we know it will actually be smog.
This is why no real estate developer calls his building ‘Smog Heights’. Instead, he peddles nature as if it were a byproduct of construction. This is why trash-incinerating firms give themselves names like ‘Ecopolis’ even though they are not recycling anything.
Language deceptions are all around us. Yet we rarely call people out on the deceptions embedded in their choice of words.
Photographers describe a certain model as being ‘comfortable with her body’ when they actually mean that she poses in bikinis without kicking up a fuss. Comfort has nothing to do with it. The poor model may well have undergone surgeries to change her body! Advertisers and fashion magazines call a woman ‘real’ when they actually mean to say that she’s not thin. We talk of mountaineers ‘conquering’ mountain peaks when we actually mean that they just about survived the climb.
And when we talk about how our small towns are getting ‘developed’, what we really mean is that they are starting to look more and more like bigger towns. But what does it mean anyway — development?
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