Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is There a Linguist in the House ?

Hamlet:  Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius:   By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet:  Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius:   It is backed like a weasel
Hamlet:  Or like a whale?  
Polonius:   Very like a whale.

Our friend Snarla has alerted us to one of the most brain-damaged and brain-damaging stories ever to be perpetrated by the Murdoch mouthpiece known as Fox “News”:
Bizarrely, the “news”cast does not even display the “Arabic” “messages” in any clear way -- you would think people would at least be curious. 
Gawker, however, does display them (see link chez Snarla).   Using my profound knowledge of ancient Arabian dialects, I was able to decipher them.   They read:

       f y thnk y cn rd ths, thn y r a fggng m*r*n.

[Another case where it helps to have a linguist handy  documented here.]


The broadcast was disturbing in another way as well.

For many decades, broadcast journalism, though not nearly as searching as print, did try to put a serious face on things.   Anchors like Murrow, Huntley, Brinkley, and Cronkite projected a sense of responsibility and intelligence.  Though they were personally no investigative or analytic giants, the subtext was that responsibility and intelligence were good things.

You see none of that on the Fox team.  An airhead prattles for a bit; then the anchor, equally clueless, raises no questions and elicits no details, but simply dumps on a bit of his own emotion.   They seem to be descended, not from the line of Murrow, but from game-show hosts:  dolts, and happy to be so.    Dan Rather always struck me as insecure:  aware that he was not all that bright, and bothered by it, trying harder.  Whereas the Fox bobbleheads are smug, and with cause;  as who should say,  We elected Dubya, and re-elected him, and with broadcasts like this one, we may just go and elect someone even dumber, like Perry.  How’ll y’all like that, pointy-heads?

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