Friday, February 5, 2016

Hunting for Euphemisms

I've been doing some back and forth emails with our municipality regarding the latest round of killing deer. I purposely use the word "kill" and am always amazed at Mt. Lebanon's choice of words. 

From: egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>To: kmcgill <kmcgill@mtlebanon.org>Cc: nschalles <nschalles@mtlebanon.org>; commission <commission@mtlebanon.org>; alauth <alauth@mtlebanon.org>; TSteinhauer <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>; schoolboard <schoolboard@mtlsd.net>Sent: Thu, Feb 4, 2016 10:03 pmSubject: Re: out of sequence
Thanks for moving the hours of operation to the home page when the killing starts. I am learning so many euphemisms for killing. Removal, management, culling, activities, program...
Sorry for being snarky, but just an observation at how things are here in Mt. Lebanon.
Elaine

-----Original Message-----From: Keith Mcgill <kmcgill@mtlebanon.org>To: egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>Cc: Nicholas Schalles <nschalles@mtlebanon.org>; Commission <commission@mtlebanon.org>; Aaron Lauth <alauth@mtlebanon.org>; tsteinhauer <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>; schoolboard <schoolboard@mtlsd.net>Sent: Thu, Feb 4, 2016 3:18 pmSubject: Re: out of sequence
Good afternoon Elaine,
The information posted to the website today for the archery program represents the final deer removal numbers for the program. There will be another a final report that includes additional information related to the program. Since we have not yet received the report I am unable to provide you the specifics as to what that other information will be.
As to the sharpshooting program additional information will be provided as it becomes available. At this point the contractor is working with the Police Department to conduct the site assessments for the properties proposed for use in the upcoming program. Information regarding hours of operation for the program will be moved to the home page prior to the beginning of the removal activity.
Keith



On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 1:18 PM, egillen476@aol.com <egillen476@aol.com> wrote:Hi Keith,
Thank you for your quick response. To be clear, are you saying that the final archery program report that is posted here (http://www.mtlebanon.org/DocumentCenter/View/11433) is not the final final report?
When will you be prominently alerting Mt. Lebanon residents of the shooting hours on the municipal website? I have copied all the links below and don't see where that information is being prominently shared.
I hope you understand that the second link is out of sequence. It should come somewhere in the middle of the page in the third link. The information on December 11, 2015 should be listed with the other December 11, 2015 information on the third link. Perhaps Nick Schalles would understand what I am talking about. I copied him on this email.
Elaine Gillen



-----Original Message-----From: Keith Mcgill <kmcgill@mtlebanon.org>To: egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>Cc: Commission <commission@mtlebanon.org>; Aaron Lauth <alauth@mtlebanon.org>; tsteinhauer <TSteinhauer@mtlsd.net>; schoolboard <schoolboard@mtlsd.net>Sent: Thu, Feb 4, 2016 10:50 amSubject: Re: out of sequence
Good morning Ms. Gillen,
The final report for the archery program is not yet available. Data and related information is still being collected from the volunteer archers. The report will be posted when it is received by the municipality. White Buffalo has indicated that the time frame for the final report is usually one month from the end of the season. 
As to the sharpshooting program additional information will be provided as it becomes available. At this point the contractor is working with the Police Department to conduct the site assessments for the properties proposed for use in the upcoming program.
Keith
I could kick myself. I forgot to mention one of Mt. Lebanon's favorites - harvesting. So many euphemisms for killing. I decided to do a search and found that there quite a few articles written about killing euphemisms.

Zander makes much of his desire to deliver a quick death. The blow, he explained, should be merciful. "I don't really want it [the hunt] to be evenly matched, I'm there to harvest my food ... I don't want to take a chance with [a weapon that is] under-powered or questionable. I want a sure shot that will take the animal out as humanely as I can." Most readers, I imagine, will applaud this logic, acknowledging Zander's compassion for the hunted. What initially strikes me, though, is Zander's language. Consciously chosen or not, his words mask the inherent brutality of his profitable hobby. 
Zander's claim that he entered the woods "to harvest my food" is a common expression among conservation-minded hunters. The primary meaning -- and clear implication -- of "harvest" is, according to the OED, "to reap and gather" a cultivated crop. Not until the 1940s did hunters begin to apply the term to animals. While technically correct, Zander's use of "harvest" is intended to soften hunting's violent edge. The act of unnecessarily shooting an innocent animal -- which is, when you reduce it to its essence, gratuitous violence -- is cloaked in the innocuous language of plant-based agriculture. Zander refuses to take a chance with an under-powered weapon. Clearly he feels the same way about an over-powered but deadly accurate word: kill.

More problematic is Zander's desire for "a sure shot that will take the animal out as humanely as I can." I get -- and respect -- the wish for a quick death (if one absolutely must hunt). But again, the terminology is worth unpacking. The most violent connotation I could find for "take out" was "the striking of an opponent's stone out of play" in the sport of curling. But anyone who watches mafia movies knows the deeper implication of Zander's use of "take out." It's to murder somebody. Brutally. In the Wikipedia entry for the Italian mobster Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese -- Lucky's one-time underboss -- is said to have "wanted to take out" Lucky's competition. 
And boy he did. But no one would describe Genovese's mob hits as being done "courteously," "kindly," "compassionately," or "benevolently" -- all used by the OED to define "humanely." The whackings were cold and gruesome. Zander believes he can "humanely" "take out" a deer. But that's about as possible as Sonny Corleone getting humanely taken out at that toll booth in The Godfather. Do note, though, that high-powered weaponry delivering "sure shots" render theharvesting of Corleone masterfully efficient. Humane? Not so much... 
Nobody wants to cook "Five Spice Stew With a Mother Deer Shot With a High-Powered Rifle While Her Baby Slept Nearby." But what about "Five Spice Venison Stew"? Much more palatable.

There are so many examples that came up in my Google search for "Euphemisms for killing animals," that it is no wonder that Mt. Lebanon seems to come up with an endless supply of sugar coated words for killing.

George Carlin is rolling over in his grave. Our deer aren't being killed. Mt. Lebanon has turned into a Cervidae Terminal Marketplace.

Euthanize...dispatching...humanely taken...lethal means...safely taken... It makes me sick.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

ANOTHER FINAL REPORT ?

E. T. Gillen said...

Yes, another final report. The final Final Report will be presented to the commissioners on Feb. 22 at the Commission Discussion Session.
Elaine

Lena Horne said...

Elaine--- Your euphemisms piece is hilarious. I've noticed that the muni is increasingly talking in code.