Friday, February 25, 2005

Volokh and Slate

Over at Slate, they have a feature called "Bushisms," which regularly points out supposed malaprops spoken by President Bush. Nearly as regularly, Eugene Volokh points out that Slate itself has misunderstood or mischaracterized Bush's statements. Today, he caught Slate attributing a line to President Bush that was actually spoken by the president of the European Council. Yesterday, he caught Slate accusing Bush of mis-speaking when his statement was perfectly grammatical. And on February 10, Volokh caught Slate accusing Bush of having said "the other day I was asked about the National Intelligence Estimate, which is a National Intelligence Estimate," when the audio of Bush's speech showed that he had actually used an acronym and then explained it ("the other day I was asked about the NIE, which is a National Intelligence Estimate").

I hereby coin two words:

1. "Slate-ism," which means "a snide attribution of error to someone else on grounds that are shown to be obviously and indisputably false by anyone who does any fact-checking whatsoever."

2. "Slatenfreude" (related to schadenfreude), which means "taking delight in pointing out an especially idiotic Slatism."

Stuart Buck


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "slatomoric," related to "sophomoric," and meaning "characterized by an ADD emphasis on twentysomething smartass style over substance?"

And actually I prefer "slaton" to "slatism" for the name given an individual elementary act like a buffoonism Bushism. The etymology is related both to "moron" as well as to the scientific name of particles, e.g. "electron" (elementary unit of negative charge) and "photon" (elementary unit of light).

That allows us to reserve "slatism" for the philosophy of those who emit and consume slatons.

Behaviour merely reminiscent of pure disciplined slatism can be contemptuously dismissed as mere "slatery" (noun) or only "slatoid" (adjective).

Something that is highly slatish but not a genuine slaton would be a "pseudoslaton" -- try saying that five times fast!

The study of slatons themselves is "slatics", of their evolution in time "slatodynamics," and of the culture they engender "slatology." The science of quantifying slatons is "slatometry" and the instrumentation is, of course, a "slatometer."

egad, the mind staggers. . .

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slate, and all those Democratic sophisticates who judge Bush by his pronunciation of "nuclear," need to go back to their Bacon: "[The study of eloquence] grew speedily to an excess; for men began to hunt more after words than matter; more after the choiceness of the phrase, and the round and clean composition of the sentence, and the sweet falling of the clauses, and the varying and illustration of their works with tropes and figures, than after the weight of matter, worth of subject, soundness of argument, life of invention or depth of judgment." (Advancement of Learning, I)

7:19 AM  
Blogger Michael Drake said...

I had thought of doing a similar post using the term 'Bushismism.' (It has a certain onomatopoetic awkwardness.)

To paraphrase Bush, the "Bushism" series is a lot like Swiss cheese: it's ineffective.

2:11 PM  

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