Story Archive

The Euphemism Treadmill

The Austin (Texas) Parks Foundation, which sponsors the annual “Keep Austin Weird” festival, shows summer movies in city parks. But they canceled the showing of “Napoleon Dynamite” because it contained an “offensive word” that “a number of people” objected to. “We didn’t recall that this word was used” in the PG-rated film, the Foundation said in its cancellation notice, “and we did not mean to offend anyone.” The Foundation refused to say what the word was, but the local newspaper noted it’s “not too hard guess what’s causing the trouble here” and included it in its report: “retarded.” (RC/Austin American Statesman) ...If the newspaper is willing to print it, how offensive is it?
Author’s Note: More on this story in my blog,
Original Publication Date: 19 June 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.
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