From Our Humor Department
Do you notice how language has softened meaning as the years go by? We are not supposed to say someone died but someone “passed”. We are not supposed to tell you something but we “shared” something with you.
George Carlin identified the evolution of labels for soldiers’ emotional suffering from battle.
In World War I it was called “shell shock”. Two words, two syllables, gut punch of how soldiers felt.
Then in World War II it came to be called “battle fatigue”. Because being “fatigued” is a lot nicer sounding than being “shocked”.
Next war, the Korean War. Language takes another step away from reality. Now the soldier is “operationally exhausted”. Many more syllables. And it sounds like it could happen to anybody or anything – your car, for instance.
Next war, Vietnam. Now it is “post-traumatic stress disorder”. They added a hyphen. The entire condition is hidden behind the jargon. Makes me wonder about “pre-traumatic stress disorder”.
The final state of language disengagement may have been reached. The condition has been acronymized to “PTSD” so that now even the appearance of a description has been removed.
You can’t blame this on Donald Trump.