Euphemism, Flatulence, and Style
To my way of thinking, deliberately choosing language that is "less expressive or direct" is far more offensive than any word could be. Euphemism smacks of obfuscation, cowardice, and--in the extreme--just plain lying. So, for example, we have a "Department of Defense" instead of a "War Department." We speak of "collateral damage" instead of "innocent victims."
Which brings us to "flatulence," a word that we can say on the radio--no problem--but we can't say "fart" without getting into big trouble. Weird because "fart" refers to the exact same noisy phenomenon as flatulence.
Why can't we say "fart" or "shit" or "fuck" on the radio? Do those words actually offend anyone more than "flatulence," "excrement," or "intercourse"? If you want to talk about offense, let's start with the pricks (:penises" if you prefer) who devise tax schemes that soak the poor to benefit the rich.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not against "flatulence," per se. I'm glad it's in our language. I happily included it in "Words of a Feather, where I showed the close relationship between "flatulence" and "inflation"--both words deriving from the Latin word "flare" meaning "to blow."
If I were writing a poem about farts and needed a three-syllable synonym for the sake of the rhythm, I'd jump up and down in thankfulness for "flatulence." But I'm against employing that word simply to separate me--via indirection--from reality.
In case you don't find the above argument persuasive, let me bring in the big gun Mark Twain, who worked at a time when popular writers were often paid by the word. Rather than talk about the power of clear, concise, direct writing--a la Strunk and White--Twain playfully explained: "I never write "metropolis" for seven cents because I can get the same price for "city." I never write "policeman" because I can get the same money for "cop."