Sunday, April 3, 2011

The U Word

Georgia O'Keefe's "Blue Flower" (1918)

Did you read about the Florida legislator who was admonished for using the word "uterus" on the floor of the Florida House?  There's a great opinion piece HERE.

Would he have been called down for mentioning a kidney? A liver? Bile duct? And what about those controversial Isles of Langerhans?
It's because of growing up amidst a mindset like this that I still call the chicken breast the "white meat," the leg  the "drumstick," and the thigh, the "second joint," causing my friends from more enlightened parts of the world to look at me strangely.

Were you brought up to use 'polite' circumlocutions of this sort?



21 comments:

Marilyn said...

I love Georgia O'Keefe's art.
I grew up not being allowed to give anything it's proper name - my mother brought me up to be a lady!! (big grins here)
Beautiful magnolia photo.

Brian Miller said...

isle of langerhaus...lol...crazy when we cant use the correct names...people tend to go to either wide of the teeter totter on PC...way too much or way too little...

Bernie said...

Yes Vicki, I was brought up saying the "nice" names instead of the real names. It didn't hurt me really and today I have to admit I am shocked sometimes at what the little ones say.....times have changed and mostly for the better I am happy to say.....:-)Hugs

June said...

Oh, well, sure....white meat, dark meat. I didn't realize we were avoiding saying "breast" and "thigh."
I'm not sure we ever spoke or heard anyone speak of anything that would require euphemisms. Although...I do recall the term "breadbasket" for butt.
Not too far from saying "limb" for "leg," is it?

Merisi said...

I am at a loss for words.
What are they afraid of?

Martin H. said...

We were brought up "to use 'polite' circumlocutions", but as we got older, we showed little mercy when it came to using terms that raised eyebrows and blood pressure simultaneously. How naughty of us, eh?

Anonymous said...

Now all the euphemisms seem to be about death instead of sex.
Deana the queena

Jean Baardsen said...

I don't think I even learned some of the proper names of things till adulthood. Not just cause of my parents, but I was in Catholic school - with nuns - through high school.

Vicki Lane said...

It's all so relative. As June mentions, at one time 'leg' was considered unseemly.

Is 'bloody' still a naughty word in Britain? Some novels have people saying 'bluggy' instead -- as in a 'bluggy' nose.

In "The Hitchhiker's Guide" the ultimate 'bad word' was ... Belgium.

Charlie M. said...

I love Georgia's work and I love where she painted in northern NM.

By the third day in boot camp I think I had heard every bad word in the English language. So shitfire, lets move on.

Desiree said...

You gave me a great chuckle with this, Vicki! No further comment! :)

Louise said...

Oh yes, there were polite words for everything. I can't quite mesh with this modern world, and some of the things that people say. But, that's OK. Time and traditions move on, and that's a good thing.

Miss_Yves said...

Generally, I dislike euphemisms...

Great picture of a great painter I've discovered rencently because a mail artist sent to me her portrait!

tattytiara said...

If anything's offensive it's the stigmatization of our natural bodies by those who would chastise us into believing that we're inherently obscene.

Friko said...

If I have then I've long ago lost the habit. In fact, I adore frightening people who do not mention . . . . . . . .
by saying the offending word or words several times over.

dana said...

Well, I was brought up to call the tail end of a chicken "the part that went over the fence last".

When my grandmother reached a very ripe old age, and things went a little wonky in her brain, she said the "f" word. Every one of the women present (all related and including me) gasped...Grandma looked sheepish, then we all broke into loud guffaws.

Such is life.

Victoria said...

Oh yes, I was brought up the same way, Vicki.

However, I have a friend who was born and raised in Scotland, but now lives here, and she elevates the art of euphemisms to a new high (or low, depending on your point of view).

She hates the word 'fart' and refers to them as 'bottom burps!"
LOL

Vicki Lane said...

Well, I didn't go to boot camp, Charlie, but I've spent close to fifty years with an ex-Marine and am pretty muchh impervious to the use of 'bad' language.


Amen, Tatty!

Actually, Dana, my sweet little grandmother called the chicken tail 'the Pope's beak.'

Vagabonde said...

I was brought up in France where people are not afraid of a woman’s body or to talk about it. Early on I knew the meaning of “uterus” and “vagina” but you know I did not know what “rape” was. I was used to see naked bodies on TV but it was not until I came to this country that I saw so much blood, guns and violence on TV. Different cultures I guess – a women body and love is out, violence is in.

Vicki Lane said...

A very interesting difference, Vagabonde.

Merisi said...

'the Pope's beak.'
My father called it Bishop's Miter! ;-)