F$#%ing gaffes

| Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I find gaffes funny. And that's about it. At the moment someone said something silly; so what?

It annoys me when I see people try to attach more meaning to it. For example: recent thing with Rick Perry and the American Revolution.

The Texas governor answered a female student’s question on the topic by saying that one of the reasons our founding fathers "fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that type of onerous crown."
Is he saying that the Revolution was in the 1500s (which would be pretty bad)? Actually, no! Here's what I think happened:

What do we call the 1900s? The 20th century. Notice how the year and the century are off by one? I get this wrong a lot. I'll say 19th century to refer to 1900s. It's a conversion that we have to make all the time. Year + 1 = Century From this we can see that Perry's mind just had a little reversal: Century + 1 = Year, so if the year was 1700s then century is 16th.

It's a minor, extremely minor, mental mixup.


Nils said...

Monday's Daily Show were enough to push Rick Perry down to 0.0001% I think - in Europe :)

stubborn said...

I actually totally agree, and what's worse than this is when a mispoken or poorly chosen comment is taken out of context and made into another issue. Earlier in the year one of the Republican senators referred to the new healthcare bill as a tar baby, a term that has taken on a racial meaning over the past decade or two. However, in the original story, a tar baby is a trap designed to make whoever fights it become stuck within it; in other words, it's an opponent you can only fight by not fighting. A lot of this and that was thrown around by the media about it, and the fellow had to apologize.

Now sure, it was an outdated reference to begin with, but frankly it was in no way a racist comment. I'm an English professor for god's sake, a warden of words, and even I could see the guy's intent.

As a disclaimer, I'll point out that I hate all politicians and belong to my own self-styled political party, the Disgustocrats. Feel free to join.
Still, I don't want people blamed for things they didn't do. If you want to be pissed that he's old and wasn't careful with his word choice, fine. That doesn't make him a bigot (he may have been one, too, but not due to using that term).

Klepsacovic said...

@Nils: Rick Perry doesn't need the support of Europeans. They're even less American than Texas.

@stubborn: Hm. On one hand I wonder how old someone would have to be for tar baby to be a phrase with the earlier, not horribly racist meaning. On the other hand, the racist meaning makes no sense at all in the context (not that making sense has ever stopped racists), so the new meaning seems more plausible. And I guess we only need to refer back to Harry Reid's "light skinned with no negro dialect" comment to see that "old people say the craziest things" could have also been a Cosby bit.

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