"So-called" is a prefix used to indicate that something or somebody has been falsely or improperly named.
Shakespeare said, "A rose is just as sweet by any other name." Let me inquire of the reader: "Is a skunk just as rosy and sweet-smelling when called a rose?"
To relay or repeat a misname or mislabel, matterly or factly, knowingly or unknowingly, is to be a bearer of falsehood. Why compromise your integrity by peddling misnames and mislabels? By simply using the prefix "so-called" before the misnamed or mislabeled "what-you-call-em?" a person can speak truthfully and maintain his/her integrity. In doing this a person doesn't need to search for a true name or label. So-called covers the rhetorical spectrum.
It is common to hear a Democrat or Republican Congressperson, while engaged in a heated debate and/or political demagoguery, say, "My friends across the isle." Obviously, the Congressperson is not being honest or candid, although he/she may be jiving. A true expression would likely be, "My enemies or adversaries across the isle."
There is one other term that I use frequently but not quite as often as I use so-called. That term is, "so what?" Suffice that I only say here that by saying so what? I am able to put things in perspective and not get caught-up in someone else's self-importance posing and seriousness stuff that account for much of the stress and high anxiety that is so prevalent in society. Just earlier today someone shedding tears said to me, "He dosen't like me anymore!" I responded, "So what?" Saying so what? after the fact or what is presumed or presented as a fact, allows a person to actually relate to self-importance and serious businesss as being nothing other than a joke.
A further comment on so-called. The chief benefit to be derived from prefixing the obviously misnamed and mislabeled "what-you-call-em?" with so-called is that it helps a person to be authentic.
The war on terrorism, excluding the Iraq battles that have taken the lives of more than 1,500 American soldiers, mostly young men, and wounded more than 12,000, to say nothing about the tens of thousands Iraqis killed and many more maimed, is not a war. To be true to myself I am compelled to say, the so-called war on terrorism.
Why not a war on poverty? That war has not been declared and warmongers want no part of it because a war on poverty is not a money-making war. When referring to the present equal opportunity terrorism National Homeland Security (and we could add (International and Abroadland) obsession-hysteria that is promoted by some politicians, I am compelled to say the "so-called war on terrorism."
With the awareness unearthed and presented in this discourse a person can now cease perpetuating lies based on misnames and mislabels. He/she can simply say, even if it is just to himself/herself, so-called "what you-call-em?"
This leap in consciousness heightening is nothing less than a mandate for change.