John Leo
English is a living language, always changing under the pressure of euphemism and verbal politics. Here are some translations for the modern reader:

  • activity intolerance: lower back pain

  • transitional assistance: welfare

  • after-sales services: kickbacks

  • involuntary administrative segregation: solitary confinement

  • three-day wait for a gun: regulation

  • one-day wait for an abortion: restriction

  • communications strategist: public relations person

  • creative response conceptions: PR

  • tug of peace: tug of war conducted by sensitive people

  • content providers: writers

  • compound: the home and property of someone reporters consider an extremist. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin.)

  • wedgislation: proposed law not intended to be passed or even seriously debated, but introduced solely to embarass the opposition. (William Saletan of Slate.)

  • not multicultural enough: white (For instance: "Many classes are no longer reading 'Catcher in the Rye' because the central character, Holden Caufield, isn't multicultural enough.")

  • sporadic protests and vandalism: a race riot, as reported by The New York Times

  • disturbances: race riots, second-day reference in the Times

  • special interests: your opponent's supporters

  • public-spirited citizens: your supporters

  • concerned Americans from around this great country: your non-local supporters

  • outside agitators: your opponent's non-local supporters

  • non-traditional sex: perversion

  • sex worker: prostitute, stripper, porn actor

  • false consciousness: she still loves her husband

  • leather community: sadomasochists

  • solo sexual activity, sex for one: masturbation

  • narratized sexual harassment: off-color joke

  • uncoerced sex: rare or obsolescent form of campus sexuality. "Many women like uncoerced sex," said Kathryn Abrams, Boston University law professor.

  • gender illusionist: cross-dresser, person in drag

  • intergenerational intimacy: pedophilia, statutory rape

  • homophobia: disagreement with the demands, tactics or manners of any gay activist

  • activist volunteering: new radical feminist term for a mother's kidnapping of her child after the courts have given custody to the father (thanks to Cathy Young)

  • paleoliberals: people of the left who have the exact same opinions they had in 1952. (Thanks to Mickey Kaus.)

  • grandparent clock: grandfather clock

  • foreparents: forefathers

  • underrepresented: we need quotas

  • should look like America: we need quotas

  • numerical goals and timetables: quotas

  • race-sensitive programs: quotas

  • fair group representation: quotas

  • employment equity: quotas

  • equitable distribution of available resources: quotas

  • should receive euthanasia: should be killed

  • advocacy scholarship: politicized teaching, classroom propaganda

  • sensitivity training: indoctrination

  • freshman orientation: indoctrination

  • multicultural issues editor (of a college paper): censor

  • post-colonial people: non-whites

  • people who never suffered colonialism: whites

  • undocumented workers: illegal aliens

  • beings: replaces "human beings." Removal of the word "human," with its warm and positive overtone, verbally sets the stage for the killing of infants and incapacitated oldsters, while at the same time making animals the equals of humans. (Thanks to Wesley Smith.)

  • monocultural: white

  • emotional battering: domestic quarrel

  • economic censorship: no grant this year from the National Endowment for the Arts

  • emotional violence: criticism

  • violence of the tongue: criticism

  • verbal abuse: any joke or remark you don't like

  • evolutionary fur: fake fur

  • strict constructionists: judges who follow the law and precedent instead of just voting their political opinions

  • in-plant feeding facility: cafeteria

  • moderate Republican: liberal

  • reactionary right-wing Republican: conservative

  • deaccession: censor, destroy. "Many people believe the mural of Indians scalping while settlers should be deaccessioned for reasons of sensitivity."

  • suffragist: retro term for suffragette

  • gaming: gambling

  • after-death care: cremation

  • virtuecrat: Bill Bennett

  • unwanted sex: either rape or consensual sex regretted the next morning

  • visual rape: staring, ogling

  • mental rape: pleading for sex

  • symbolic rape: criticism

  • seared, mutilated animal flesh: hamburger

  • procedure: abortion

  • choice: abortion

  • anti-choice: anti-abortion

  • selective reduction: abortion

  • effecting fetal demise: abortion

  • exercise of a woman's right: abortion

  • pregnancy-related services: abortion

  • late-term abortion: partial-birth abortion

  • reproductive health community: abortion lobby

  • inappropriate: crooked, totally immoral

  • backlash: resistance to your ideas

  • organized religion: an outdated and prepackaged faith; any form of spirituality not invented recently by you or your friends, or not seen recently on "Oprah"

  • cult: any small religion disapproved of by three or more journalists


  • John Leo

    John Leo is editor of MindingTheCampus.com and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

    Be the first to read John Leo's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.