Words are funny — it astounds me that groups of letters or phonemes combine to make sense… Not just sense, but complex language. And the language we use and ingest creates the thoughts we have and give, not only in a block-by-block way (several of the right kinds of words make a sentence), but also in a directional way (several of the right kinds of words steer our opinions if we’re not careful).
I’ve recently encountered a couple of interesting tidbits lately that are word-related. First, I saw a lecture last week by a burlesque performer on the history of the profession. Apparently in the 1930s, burlesque in New York City got way out of hand (according to Mayor La Guardia, anyway), and the word “burlesque,” not the act or its establishments, was banned. Simply banning the word had such an effect that burlesque in the city was pretty much done.
And I found an article tonight that recommends changing the name of the disorder presently referred to as “schizophrenia” to “Neuro-Emotional Integration Disorder (NEID).” The symptoms? Just the same as ever. The reason? To help educate patients and the public, and de-stigmatize the disorder… Hmm.