When you hear the word “release,” do you feel generally good or bad? I mean, what is the natural connotation of this word? I’m guessing that at least some of you have positive feelings and ideas about this word. Some wouldn’t.
“We had to release him.” (might hurt)
“Please release me; let me go.” (depends)
“I felt a total release.” (I felt a … total spill?)
“The Oil Company apologizes for the unfortunate and accidental release … ” (advertisement in The Santa Barbara Independent, May 28, 2015)
That’s called a euphemism: using nice words for ugly things. Oops! I didn’t mean “ugly.” What I meant to say was, um, cosmetically challenged. The beaches are temporarily cosmetically and organically challenged.
Look, Hank, I don’t want to call this thing an oil “spill” — any more than you do. We simply have to convince these kids that “Hey! There is no use crying over released oil.”
Besides, our own human bodies release natural oils. You see? Just replace any ugly word or image with a nice one, and it makes things all better. Let’s practice constructing sentences and phrases, like these:
• The criminal confessed to everything, releasing his visceral tissues and strengths.
• An insider must have released the beans in the scandal.
• The “Gulf Oil Release”
Fairly speaking, everybody who goes to the pump and fills up their tank — without hardly getting their fingers smelly — and pays in a jiff and hits the road, is as guilty as any vice president of an oil company — during release periods. We all are to blame, because we lubricate our footprints with sloppiness and greed on this planet. We’re lazy. I mean … we are cautious and permissive in our options.
This manipulative kind of word exchange, which we all engage in, is so transparent (and I mean that in a bad way). Just call it an oil spill … please. We’ll accept your apology.