Friday, 12 September 2008

Jargon obsession

One of the more annoying experiences of my high school career was my AP American History course—and not just because I scored a 5 (the maximum score) on the AP exam and was the senior class award winner in social studies, yet somehow only earned a B in the course. The annoying-before-I-saw-my-grade aspect was that often it seemed like we were learning the textbook authors’ pet names for certain events in American history, or overly cute quotations, in lieu of whatever substantive event was being described. (AP history being 15 years in my past, I can’t remember any specific examples alas.)

Which gets me to the mini-brou-ha-ha about Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson. Without wasting my time watching it, I’ll gladly concede the point that she is almost certainly as clueless about domestic and international politics as approximately 98.9% of the American public—which, if we were auditioning her for a slot on “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” would probably be less alarming than her current public audition to serve on the National Security Council.

That said, I can’t get too worked up about Palin’s apparent failure to recognize the term “Bush doctrine.” Indeed, most of the instances of the term a cursory Google search of uncovers come in questions from the media, mostly “gotcha” questions of the form “Is such-and-such an action consistent with the Bush doctrine?” By all means it is reasonable to inquire into Palin’s thoughts on how to combat al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, but a failure to recognize a cutesy inside-the-beltway label for a particular policy strikes me as rather less damning that whatever lack of substantive knowledge was displayed (again, given that I’m not going to waste any of my life watching the interview or reading the transcript).

Update: This argument is bolstered by the fact that Gibson apparently doesn’t know what the “Bush doctrine” is either. Oops.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 9:52 pm CDT:

I was part of a survey with an N of 5 at work today and 0% neither knew what the “Bush doctrine” was nor had ever heard of it (before the Palin interview, or after).


Snarky comment about having met Alfie’s colleagues and not being surprised omitted.

How about them Bulldogs? Sly Croom can’t even win even when Auburn is seemingly trying to lose.

[Permalink] 3. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Tue, 16 Sep 2008, 8:52 pm CDT:

Good one; though, I’m not sure you’ve met these particular colleagues. The guy (a VP) who was going around asking people about the “Bush doctrine” purposely neglected to ask one of the other VPs who is a hardcore politico at the risk of being engulfed in a 55 minute conversation. You can only say “Whoops I gotta run into a meeting” so many times, ya know?

Luckily I was at the Ole Miss-Samford game during the Auburn-State debacle. Ole Miss was just going through the motions for most of the game and still managed to score 17x what State “scored.”

Someone made a YouTube video of the “highlights” of the Auburn-State game. The most hilarious 3:10 of false starts and incomplete passes you’ll ever see.


Yeah, watching the State game live made listening to Sandroni and Kellum downright pleasant by comparison. I have to say, though, the Auburn kid’s INT at the end was quite impressive… not P-Willie-esque, but impressive.

Vandy-Ole Miss used to be a JP/LF/Raycom staple. Wonder what changed?

[Permalink] 5. Alfie Sumrall wrote @ Thu, 18 Sep 2008, 6:36 am CDT:

Pretty sure it hasn’t been on TV period since 2005. I know it wasn’t last year (night game in Nashville) and pretty sure it was one of those 1pm no TV kickoffs in 2006.

The only place they could have put us was the 6pm ESPN2 game which is sometimes home to a SEC game, but they’re going with an ACC game in Wake @ FSU—- which makes more sense as they’re both ranked in the Top 25.

Here is this week’s slate of TV games involving the SEC:
State @ GA Tech—ACC Raycom game
Bama @ Arkansas—SEC Raycom game
Florida @ UT—CBS
UGA @ Arizona St.—Pac-10 ABC game

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