Joe Queenan, whose memoir Closing Time pubs today, has been pondering the new world order that is dumping "fierce rhetoric" in favor of a kindler, gentler vocabulary. In a Wall Street Journal column, Queenan muses that the Taliban might decide to avoid mention of "beheadings" and instead refer to "cephalic attrition." Rather than the strident term "ethnic cleansing," let's call it "unconditional demographic redeployment." And those "death squads" in Mexico? They're actually "free-lance resolution facilitators."
One of the best at skewering pomposity and arrogance, Queenan turns his attention to his own miserable childhood in Closing Time, reviewed along with several other new memoirs in the current issue of BookPage.