Sunday, October 10, 2004


Or, how to impress someone with your mastery of piffling puffery

Weasel words are part of a popular past-time among truculent tergiversators and red-herring practitioners.

Evasion of the truth, or stretching it beyond all recognition is the forte of spin-doctors . It's a wonderful technique that relies upon the use of intentionally vague or ambiguous expressions designed to lead Little Red Riding Hoods down the proverbial prevaricating path.

Weasel words get their name from the weasel's habit of sucking the contents out of an egg without breaking the shell. While weasel words come in all shapes and sizes, they share at least one thing in common -- a knack for bluffing the audience into believing that the Emporer is wearing titillatingly trendy togs when in fact his blessed birthday suit leaves a lot to be desired.

Here are a few waffling weaselisms for your reading enjoyment.

  • "harm reducers" -- a polite term for community health nurses who ride about in coffee wagons dispensing prophylactic devices, clean syringes, and low-carb candy bars to temporarily displaced inhabitants residing in marginal areas.

  • "high-performance essentially impermeable latex barriers" -- a polite term for a condom that may also be lubricated, ribbed, or ultra-thin to deliver a virtually orgasmic experience to the owner.

  • "a little bit pregnant" -- a colloquial term for a small glitch in the fairytale about immaculate conception.

  • "organized sponteneity" -- journalistic jargon for the impromptu blurts that keep viewers glued to a televised political debate between a left-of-centre lemming and a right-leaning troll.

  • "non-pedular venom delivery agent" -- technical term for any serpent who resides in an apple consumed by Adam and friends who haven't a clue about the snippet of chaos, touch of distaster, or morsel of full-blown mayhem that will befall them in the Garden of Eden.

There are many more deliciously devious words in our lexicon of ludicrous lulus. So, next time you're faced with a dull meeting or a boring party...liven it up with a few of your own juicy weasel words. After all, it's never too late to practice a moment or two of delightful dupery.