Monday, March 28, 2011

Choosing My Words Less Carefully

A few weeks ago I discussed my efforts to stop using expressions that refer to religion or superstition, such as "oh god" or "bless you." Rebecca Watson at Skepchick has responded deftly to a correspondent who challenged her to stop using "phrases such as 'Oh, my God', 'Christ, or others that are direct or indirect entreaties to a god":
Stop making direct entreaties to Thor. Every time you use the word “Thursday” it honors the ancient, well-debunked concept of a man who lives in the sky and throws lightning bolts. Try using “fourth day of the week” instead, or perhaps “fifth day of the week” depending upon when you consider the week starts.

For that matter, stop honoring Tyr, Odin, Frigg, Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon.
Rebecca makes a valid point. I've realized that it's no big deal if I let an occasional "oh god" slip out, and I'm relieved that I'll no longer have to consult Bartlett's to determine if the saying I want to use is from Shakespeare or the Bible. (I have so much trouble keeping those two straight!) I mean, I could live without the expression "the land of Nod," which I don't think I've ever actually used, but without "pearls before swine," I'd have nothing pithy to say to friends who hold doors open for me!

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