I’ve come to accept the word medieval in “get medieval on his ass” constructions, even though it’s turned into a horrible cliche.
But when you use it, please, people, make it worth it. Save it for serious ass whippings. Don’t use it to describe a geriatric actor fake slapping a reporter, as in “Burt Reynolds Gets Medieval on TV Producer.” If we use medieval now, what will we call it when Keanu Reeves slices open a reporter and wraps his entrails around a tree?
And if you’re referring to torture as being “medieval,” make sure you’re using it to describe something really, unquestionably, horribly brutal, not just something that is bad. Apparently, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Irene Khan is blasting the US and the UK for sanctioning torture in Iraq that pushes us “back to medieval ages.” Yes, yes, people in the middle ages were very good at torture, even though they can’t hold a candle to the Renaissance Inquisitors. But in the same speech, she outlines the specific abuses that she’s calling medieval. They include: “environmental manipulation,” “stress positions,” and “sensory manipulation.”
Come on. You know Americans have done worse in Iraq and Afghanistan than turning the lights on and off and making prisoners stand up. Why the wussy examples? If America is driving us back to the (inexplicably multiple) medieval ages, accuse us of something really heinous, not just a collection of vague euphemisms. You can’t “get medieval” and use PC sani-language at the same time.