Friday, June 03, 2005

Dude, Where's My Functional Illiteracy

Anyone see the "Daily Show" last night? The President totally misuses a word and then defines his misused word for the audience. It's awesome.

Check out this clip of the program, courtesy of Comedy Central. It's the clip entitled "The Sunshine Boys." You'll also get to see Dick Cheney claim that he's "offended" by Amnesty International's comparison of the Guantanamo Bay detention center to a Soviet gulag. He's not, however, offended by putting leashes around grown men, many of them innocent of any crime, leading them around a prison naked in front of other men, and then torturing them for hours.

But comparing one horrific torture center to a different, older, Communist one? HOW DARE YOU, SIR!

But anyway, here's Bush's actual statement:

"It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the wordof -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth."

You would think George Bush would know every synonym and euphamism for lying, considering that it's an activity he engages in every single day. It would be like a guy who loves to row not knowing that the rowing team is referred to as "Crew." (NOTE: I didn't know this myself until my freshman year of college, when my friend Jenny told me she joined the "Crew Team" at UC Santa Barbara and I continued to ask her "which crew?" like an idiot).

What Bush meant, of course, was dissemble, which means to not tell the truth...sort of. It really means to spread mistruth, which isn't quite the same thing, but hey, subtle nuances of the English language aren't really Georgie's bag, baby.

(By the by, you can read the full White House transcript, where they took the liberty of correcting Bush's error for him, here. Or you could check out Blog Schmog, the only blog I've ever seen to actually promise never to write about Paris Hilton, discussing the same story here. He reports that the Chicago Tribune also went ahead and cleaned up after Shrub, lest everyone in Chi-Town find out the President is functionally illiterate).

And here's where the story gets truly delicious. Guess what the "word of the day" was on morning before Bush's big speech?

Word of the Day for Monday May 30, 2005

dissemble \dih-SEM-buhl\, transitive verb:1. To hide under a false appearance; to hide the truth or true nature of.2. To put on the appearance of; to feign.

The President obviously has realized that people make fun of the way he talks, so he's trying to build his vocabulary. Admirable. Though I think the leader of the free world could probably do more to build his brainpower than check out's "word of the day." Most of those aren't even very difficult words. If the President really wants to not be such a nothin', his head all full of stuffin', he might try reading actual books, or even lengthy magazine articles. Or, hell, I'd settle for a graphic novel.

The problem is, his memory ain't so good, you see. Sometimes, he ups and tries to think and then ups and can't remember the thing he was uppin' to think about, and then he gets all turned around and confused and just winds up working on his Transformers coloring books. (I hear he made a really badass purple Shockwave, the transformer that actually turned into a massive gun, which even as a child seemed kind of extreme to me.)

Great big thank you's to my brother Jonathan for this one. I saw the clip in question last night, but didn't think to do any legwork to actually blog the thing. Then I woke up this morning and got an e-mail from Jon, and he'd done all the work for me. Nice jorb!

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