En kort men intressant krönika i Prospect som noterar att ”improper” har ersatts av ”inappropriate”.
This linguistic shift is revealing. Improper and indecent express moral judgements, whereas inappropriate and unacceptable suggest breaches of some purely social or professional convention. Such “non-judgemental” forms of speech are tailored to a society wary of explicit moral language. As liberal pluralists, we seek only adherence to rules of the game, not agreement on fundamentals. What was once an offence against decency must be recast as something akin to a faux pas.
[. . .]
“Inappropriate” and “unacceptable” are the catchwords of a moralism that dare not speak its name.