Friday, February 22, 2008

With monitors like this...

Follow-up to the last post.

The Global Language Monitor has been monitoring itself. The paragraph calling Barack Obama "Obama Barack" has been corrected.

The switch struck me as a production error when I saw it. Then I tracked down a clip of Mr Payack himself talking about political buzzwords. This video was posted on YouTube last August.

Pay attention to the #2 buzzword (2:20). It could just be one of those words/phrases he keeps messing up. Like people who can't say cinnamon. And he stumbles on the last name too -- saying something like "Bryereck". He might be nervous. He sounds nervous.

But this isn't just a speech error. Mr Payack simply doesn't know the name. Keep listening. I'll transcribe his remarks (ellipses mark his stammering).

OK. So number 2 is Obama. Obama. Obama Barack. ... He's a junior senator from the state [of] Illinois and he's running for president. He's had quite a following and ... he uses this facility a lot to ... talk to and have commercials and things of that such from supporters and ... and how Obama the first name alone is a #2 political buzzword affecting the campaign.

Even tho I don't quite understand what's happening with all of his syntax it's clear that he believes (or believed) that Obama is a first name.

From most people this slip is not a big deal. And it would not deserve a post. But this guy is claiming to have a definitive count of words in the English language. It's a number that requires a level of precision that the finest lexicographers largely agree is beyond the grasp of the most assiduous attention to detail -- if a single number even exists. And he just yesterday learned the name of the most celebrated politician in my lifetime.

And it's a name he has been following and discussing for more than 6 months.

His book is available from Amazon.


  1. Maybe politics just isn't in his wheelhouse.

  2. My point exactly. Because it's an area in which he is easily confused his claims to have carefully analysed the language of the realm are torpedoed by his obvious ignorance.

    Good day sir.

  3. Did you just wheelhouse me? Well, I never! I challenge you to a duel. Wheelhouses at dawn, twenty paces.

    We'll meet down by the old wheelhouse.


Thanks for reaching out.

You can also contact me at wishydig[at]gmail[d0t]com.