Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How language changes: "Savile row suit"

From the Duden Anglais Encylopedia of Contemporary Language (2020 Edition):

(In this example, the pronunciation has altered because of the substitution of one homonym by another.)

Savile Row Suit [sævɨl r suːt] (archaic): expensive, handmade gentleman's apparel. Savile Row was one of the famous centres of the London garment trade. The work has since been outsourced to China, India and latterly Vietnam, and the street is now best known for its branches of Costa Coffee, TKMaxx and other consumer chain outlets, plus the largest unemployment benefit office in Manche Nord (formerly SEEDA/EMDI, previously "South-East England" (q.v.)).

Savile Row Suit [sævɨl r suːt] (modern): expensive legal action taken to deny contemporary knowledge of, or indirect involvement in, an entertainer's sexual misdeeds. This phrase gained currency in the aftermath of the October 2012 Newsnight/Panorama controversy (current affairs programmes on the now-defunct British Broadcasting Corporation (see "Sky BEEB")) over the late Sir Jimmy Savile.

Its usage then extended to cover the sexual exploitation of "underage" girls by many popular musicians and film- and TV-programme-makers in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The usage is expected to decline in the near future, as the age of consent has since been lowered to 14 and is scheduled (pending Presidential Assent) to be abolished entirely as per old NCCL recommendations. (The NCCL, now known as Liberty, had sometime included among its officers future Labour Government ministers Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman, whose position on these matters may have changed.)

In any case, details of any such alleged past offences are now unpublishable in the EU following the European Privacy Directive of 2019, which incorporates many of the features demanded by the European Privacy Association and chose to go further in the light of scandals involving certain French, Belgian and Italian politicians in the late 2010s.

Among the consequences of that Directive are the "weeding" of newspapers, magazines and other ephemera from libraries (such as the Bodleian) and national collections, to expunge allegations such as the ones that appeared in the scurrilous Spiked magazine in the 1990s concerning a British (see glossary) government minister and a certain North African hotel.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

There'll have to be some lexical adjustments made. I'm not gay and carefree about that.