Saturday, 31 July 2010
It is politically incorrect to refer to a lack of something in someone. For instance, blind people are 'visually challenged', disabled people are 'differently abled', children with learning difficulties are 'educationally challenged'. It is good and proper that people's sensitivities are taken into account for none of us can help not having whatever facility it is that we're missing. I don't know about the rest of the working world but no-one in schools in the UK is allowed to 'brainstorm' – it might offend people who suffer from tonic-clonic seizures (that's epilepsy to you and me, or even *sharp intake of breath* FITS).
There is a risk that in an effort to avoid offence we are led into a world of bizarre euphemisms. Thus a short person is 'horizontally challenged'. A fat person is 'metabolically challenged' or 'calorie-resistance intolerant'. A man (or woman) whose hair is thinning – or absent – is 'hirsutely other'. Someone who is extremely energetic might be described not as frenetic and driven but rather as 'relaxation averse' while the counterpart would be, not lazy, but 'effortfully disinclined'.
What of chronically untidy and disorganised people? Would 'organisationally reluctant' cover their condition? The pessimist could be 'antonymically optimistic' and the slovenly slut 'obversely houseproud'. I'm sure you can think of others.
The ponder that brought about the rubbish above grew in my brain as I wandered along woodland paths with the dogs yesterday; I contemplated the sad truth that I am 'adjectivally challenged'. That is to say, I have exhausted my supply of commentarial enthusiasm. I used to encourage the children I taught to consider synonyms for 'nice' and good' and (shudder) 'brill.' ('Awesome' and 'cool' and 'wicked' and 'sad' had not yet landed in the tender brains of the young scholars.) The children would spend an enjoyably competitive time outdoing each other with ever more sublime alternatives. Now, after almost eighteen months in the outer reaches of blogdom, I have reached rock bottom and have decided that the English language requires more adjectives of approbation. I have used 'lovely', 'stunning', 'superb' and their like far too frequently. I could adopt the habit of some bloggers and use the same catch-all, anodyne phrase for every blog I visit – it would be quick and efficient but add nothing to the bloggee's sense of accomplishment – or even existence! People who take the time to comment on my efforts encourage and uplift me so I try to do the same on the blogs I visit. This is particularly important when a new blogger appears on the scene, unsure quite what to expect. Therefore I am going to invent some new adjectives and would appreciate the efforts of any of you 'out there' (and some of you really are 'out there' ;-}) to add to and improve my poor renderings.
Here are a few suggestions:- gregorgeous, supraspecial, stunningese, beautifellant, wonderbrasimax, gargantuan (okay, I know that's a 'proper' word), splendera, loveheartlifly, deepspacely . . . or maybe I'll just reinstate 'nice' and 'good' in my personal vocabulary. What say you? Anyone?