Tag Archives: witty

Book Review: Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Everyone gets something different out of a book. The opinions here are mine only.

This is an infomative and entertaning book. It is well researched and witty at the same time, so makes an enjoyable read.

From taboo subjects to business, food, drink and politics, our language is filled with euphamisms. Different euphamisms fall in and out of fashion over time. Just think about the number of euphamisms for “telling lies” to avoid our discomfort at referring to someone as a liar. In Chrchill’s time there were “terminological inexactitudes”. We “massage the truth”, we “sweeten the truth”, we “tell the truth improved” and we “pretend”. We have also seen people “misspeak”, “make bad choices” and “exercise poor judgement”. Bernard Madoff apologised for his “error of judgement”. Richard Nixon was often “in denial”.

There are probably more stories about the history of euphamisms than in this 250 page account, but it captures the essence of how euphamisms emerge and evolve and is great for someone reading about the subject for pleasure. Above all, it is hilarious in places and great fun to read.

Is Society Promoting Psycopaths?

I watched a fascinating clip on Tonic TV yesterday on the studies of brains of people with psychopathic tendencies. Apparently, the tendency is found in people with a deficiency in the amygdala (the part of the brain playing a key part in processing emotions) – a deficiency that causes these people to have no qualms about being immoral or unethical and hurting others in the process.  I couldn’t locate the clip on the website but found some other fascinating articles on the subject, one in Expats Post. I recommend reading this.

To sum it up, the psycopaths who end up in prison are at the extreme end of the spectrum but many other psycopaths walk among us. Their characteristcs? They con, swindle, manipulate, control and cause emotional and psychological damage to others and wait – here’s the surprising element – their personalities are often charming, witty, confident, outgoing and disarming. This, only to use others to their advantage, then discard them later. The “Expats Post” article goes on to say that society often rewards such people with a “win at all costs, get the job done” attitude e.g. in corporations, politics, Big Banks etc.

I am impressed with the progress in brain science. Perhaps some day brain scans will be added to the repertoire of tools to more accurately profile and fit people for roles, reducing the dependence on psychometric profiling, assessment by other people (possibly psychopaths themselves) and popular votes.