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    Those Hot-Tempered Arabs

    unclesambomb.jpgQuote:  “A political decision was taken to ask DP World to try and defuse the situation.  We have to help our friends.”  Anonymous Dubai “senior political official,” in the New York Times.

    Figure of Speecheuphemismus (eu-phe-MIS-mus), or euphemism, the sugar-coated figure.

    The euphemismus (“to speak prettily”) has coated many a bitter political pill. Let us translate this example.

    Political decision was taken:  The passive voice disguises the decision-maker, who apparently was Bush himself.  He sent Karl Rove to  quash the deal.

    To ask DP World:  The shipping company is owned by the Arab Emirates, so it was more like an order.

    Defuse the situation:  The “situation” was a xenophobic tantrum by American politicians during an election year.  The official slips with “defuse,” which implies something more explosive.

    Help our friends:  As the most westernized Arab nation, we’re stuck with the Americans.

    Snappy Answer:  “With friends like America, who needs allies?”

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    Reader Comments (1)

    Jim Sweas emailed this to us. Rumor has it that Seymour Butts is suing the Emirates for copyright infringement. -- Fig.

    I must be showing my age (and cynicism) by taking delight over many in Congress who must be taking dancing lessons trying to skirt the words “DP World” in rhetoric already overshadowed by xenophobic accusations.

    By the way, as a transplanted Chicagoan, I’ve discovered my favorite California euphemism: Here it’s called “wine tasting.” On the streets of Chicago, call it what it really is, “bar hopping.”
    March 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro

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