The power of words holds no secrets for Clément Viktorovitch, expert in rhetoric and columnist of the show Click† In his latest bulletin, he describes the intricacies behind the recommendations of a group of specialists at the Ministry of Health to change certain terms denoting the elderly. A good way to remember the meaning of the saying “call a spade a spade”.
For example, people previously labeled as “bedridden” would now be identified as “people with reduced mobility”, while “dependent people” would become “vulnerable people”. If the aim is laudable, Clément Viktorovitch admits, in fact the use of euphemisms can be problematic when it touches public order. Indeed, the risk in diminishing the impact of this lexicon perceived as pejorative or negative is to trigger a withdrawal on the part of political leaders.
“The problem with euphemisms is that they can quickly have political consequences. ‘People confined to bed’, everyone sees that this is a difficult situation. A reality that is so difficult that the State has to respond to it. ‘Person with reduced mobility’ sounds less serious and therefore policy responses suddenly seem less urgent.”
Clemens Viktorovich, Clique.
And this is not the first time this has happened, the columnist underlines before recalling how the name ‘social plan’ adopted in the 1990s to replace the ‘dismissal plan’ meant that the harmful problems of this corporate restructurings were concealed.