Top Ten All-Time Bushisms: ‘Misunderestimate,’ ‘Mission Accomplished’ top list

Similar to US Presidential Historians, Re-evaluating the Bush Legacy

Austin, TX. April 25, 2013 – The official opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University, has prompted US presidential historians to re-evaluate the Bush 43 term in office. The Gallop organization has noted his highest approval ratings since Katrina.

“Some historians are noting improvement in their appraisals of the Bush Presidency, especially since the Obama Administration has chosen to follow a number of Bush precedents including the use of drones, keeping Gitmo open, prosecuting the war in Afghanistan, and the like,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “In the same manner, we have re-evaluated President Bush’s most (jn)famous sayings, misstatements and malapropisms to see which have best withstood the test of time.”

President Obama has had his share of linguistic miscue and foibles, but new word creation has centered on his surname: Obamamania, Obamacare, etc.

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s algorithmic methodologies that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere, as well as new social media as they emerge.

Obama’s “Doing Just Fine” Internet Meme Surpasses ‘Mission Accomplished’

Obama’s “Private Sector  doing just fine” now an Internet Meme

Comparisons to Bush’s “Mission Accomplished”  Proliferate

Measures Level II the five level-Internet-Meme Intensity Index (IMII)

Austin, Texas, June 9-11, 2012.  The Internet Meme that ignited when President Obama pronounced  “The private sector is doing just fine,” at his  Friday news conference is now at Level II on the Global Language Monitor’s five-level InternetMeme Intensity Index (IMII).  One proliferating image conflates George W. Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ photo with Obama’s face intruding onto the scene.  Though this montage has been in circulation for some time, it was given new life from the president’s remarks in his June 8  news conference.

Bush’s  ‘Mission Accomplished’ I-meme is one of the earliest political memes ever recorded, though the president, himself, never actually uttered those words on May 1, 2003.  GLM receives frequent queries, even from the news media, asking when and where those words were recorded.

Bush delivered his prepared text focusing on ‘end of major combat operations’  from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln some thirty miles off the coast of San Diego.  In the background, was the typical banner that is arrayed on ships returning from combat operations:   Mission Accomplished.

In the analysis, GLM found that Obama cross-referenced with “mission accomplished” citations, surpass those related to Bush by a 9:7 margin.

“Internet Memes can spread quickly or build slowly.  The ‘Doing Just Fine’ meme is in a position to build through the November elections, depending, of course, on the ability of the Obama team to deflate it, and the Romney’s team to encourage its propagation,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s president and chief word analyst.

“However, one thing is certain, once a meme ‘ignites,’  it follows its own rules and it future path is not always easy to predict.”

The life cycle of an I-Meme typically  follows four stages: 1) Ignition, 2) Verification, 3) Launch, and 4) Propagation.
The last I-Meme crossing the threshold for measurement  was the ‘Jolie Leg’ meme ignited during the Academy Award ceremonies last Spring.

Since its ignition, the ‘Doing Just Fine’ meme climbed to Level 2 (out of 5) on the GLM Internet Meme Intensity Index  (IMII).  GLM will continue to monitor the I-meme as it propagates and evolves.

GLM used NarrativeTracker 2.0 for this analysis.  NT2.0 is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 200,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge.

About Global Language Monitor

Austin-based Global Language Monitor is the pioneer in web-based media analytics.  Founded in Silicon Valley, GLM collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language.

For information on GLM’s Internet Meme Tracking Services and the Internet Meme Intensity Index, call 1.512.815.8836, go to www.LanguageMonitor.com , call 1.512.815.8836 or email pjjp@post.harvard.edu.



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Evacuee, Apocalypse & Hiroshima: Katrina Continues to Impact Language

Katrina Continues to Impact Language, Media and Politics

 

AUSTIN, Texas.   (August 30, 2010) – Katrina had a deep and lasting impact on how America looks at catastrophes and crises in the early 21st century.  And Katrina’s influence is becoming all the more pervasive as the effects of the crisis linger and the reality of the magnitude of the destruction continues to come to light.  An exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor (GLM) using it analytical resources, underscores how some five years after the event, Katrina continues to have an out-sized impact on our cultural landscape.  Last year, GLM ranked the Top Stories in the Global Media during the first decade of the 21st century.  Katrina ranked No. 8.

Background:  It is often said that the war in Viet Nam was the first war to be broadcast directly into American living rooms (back when people still gathered for dinner together and watched network news broadcasts).  We watched in horror at the mass destruction of the Towers falling a quarter of a century later, many of us on our computer screens.  But it was the unfolding of the inundation of New Orleans after the levees gave way that provided us with any number of up-close-and personal tragedies that would unfold (and float) before our disbelieving eyes.

Among the most prominent example of Katrina’s continuing cultural impact include:

  1. Refugee vs. Evacuee – At the time GLM’s analysis found that the term for the displaced, refugees, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral, evacuees.  At the term, refugee was cited as racially insensitive.  Never endorsed by the AP Stylebook, currently the word refugee is used in the media some fifty times more than evacuee.
  2. “Heckova job, Brownie!” – GLM named this paraphrase of President Bush’s actual remark, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” as the most memorable phrase of 2005.  The phrase, according to a Reuter’s report at the time, “became a national punch line for countless jokes and pointed comments about the administration’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster”.  Even now variations of the phrase are used to criticize less-than-stellar efforts, such as when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote, “Heck of a job, Barry” (her nickname for President Obama) in her Dec. 29th, 2009 column.
  3. Apocalyptic Imagery — The Southeast Asia Tsunami that killed over 200,000 people occurred nine months before Katrina, so audiences were somewhat familiar with horrific images of exotic locales as scenes of mass destruction.  However, the thought of the devastation unfolding in a major, revered US city, with the world watching the only remaining superpower, apparently unable to mobilize the necessary resources to stop the ongoing destruction and loss of life proved more than the press could handle.  Immediately, the global press echoed with apocalyptic imagery.  The Times in London led with: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age” and continued describing “a paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape … where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone.”
  4. The Hiroshima Analogy – Katrina hit landfall shortly after the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.   AP cited Mississippi governor Haley Barbour “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction … [showing] the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”.  However, the analogy continues to be used in light of the lingering effects of a drawn-out and, some would argue, less-than-successful recovery effort.  There are still 55,000 uninhabitable buildings half of which the new mayor has pledged to remove by 2014; many still lack essential services; the levees remain in questionable condition, and most importantly, some 20-to-25% of the population has failed to return.

5.  Storm and Scientific Terminology — The public has a much better understanding of the specific terminology surrounding hurricanes and tropical storms.  This would include:

  • Saffir-Simpson Scale, which predicts the destructive power of a hurricane,
  • Category or Hurricane Scale that measures the strength of a hurricane’s strength, from low to high (1 to 5).  Katrina peaked at Category 5 but at landfall fell to Category 3.
  • Storm Surge, the wall of water pushed in from of a hurricane.  Katrina’s was about 30 feet, the highest on record.
  • Levee, the massive, supposedly impermeable earthen walls, meant to hold back storm surges.  New Orleans has some 350 miles of levees.  An unfortunate fact about levees, once they let water in, they can actually prevent it from going out.
  • Naming System for Hurricanes, which has been in place for some fifty years.   They names are alphabetically sorted, alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.  Katrina was obviously retired.

6.  The name Katrina, according to the Social Security Administration, has fallen sharply in popularity.  In 2004 Katrina was the 274th most popular names for girls born in the US; in 2009 it ranked at 815.

For historical coverage of Hurricane Katrina from the Global Language Monitor, go here.

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‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms

‘Misunderestimate’ Tops List of All-Time Bushisms  

 

Compendium of Fifteen of the President’s ‘Greatest Hits’

 

Austin, TX January 7, 2009  – The Top All-Time Bushisms were released earlier today by the Global Language Monitor (www.LanguageMonitor.com). Topping the List were:

 

  • Misunderestimate,
  • Mission Accomplished,
  • Brownie, you’ve done a heck of a job!
  • I’m the decider, and
  • I use the Google.

 

 “The era of Bushisms is now coming to an end, and word watchers worldwide will have a hard time substituting Barack Obama’s precise intonations and eloquence for W’s unique linguistic constructions,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “The biggest linguistic faux pas of the Obama era thus far involves the use of the reflexive pronoun myself.  This is a refreshing shift from the Bush years.”

The rankings were nominated by language observers the world over and then ranked with the help of the Global Language Monitor’s PQI (Predictive-quantities Indicator).  The PQI is a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere.

The Top All-time Bushisms with commentary, follow.

 

1.     Misunderestimate. Stated in the immediate aftermath of the disputed 2000 election:  One of the first and perhaps most iconic Bushisms (Nov. 6, 2000).

2.     Mission Accomplished:  Never actually stated by the President but nevertheless the banner behind him was all that was needed to cement this phrase into the public imagination (May 1, 2003).

3.     “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” said to soon-to-be-discharged FEMA director Michael Brown. Stated in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; it came to symbolize the entire debacle (Sept. 2, 2005).

4.     “I’m the decider” came to symbolize the ‘imperial’ aspects of the Bush presidency.  Said in response to his decision to keep Don Rumsfeld on as the Secretary of Defense (April 18, 2006).   

5.     “I use The Google” said in reference to the popular search engine (October 24, 2006).

6.     Iraq Shoe Throwing Incident.  In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of immense disrespect.  Some have suggested this to be the visual equivalent of a spoken Bushism — Inappropriate, surprising, embarrassing yet compelling to repeat (December 14, 2008).

7.     “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” came to symbolize the President’s environmental policy (Sept. 29, 2000).

8.     “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” Critics used this to symbolize Bush’s detachment to the plight of the working class, said to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska (Feb. 4, 2005)

9.     “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” was uttered before the first primaries back in 2000 (Jan. 11, 2000).

10.  “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was cited by his critics as revealing his true thoughts (Aug. 5, 2004)

11.   It was not always certain that the U.S. and America would have a close relationship.”  The President was speaking of the Anglo-American relationship (June 29, 2006).

12.  “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Explaining his Communications strategy (May 24, 2005).

13.  “I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?” scribbled on a note to Secretary of State Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting in 2005.

14.  “When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma” (September 24, 2006).

15.  “Stay the course” was stated on numerous occasions during the course of the Iraq War.  Bush’s change of course with the Surge, actually made a dramatic difference in the conflict..

Other Presidents of the United States created their own words, some of which have entered the standard English vocabulary.  These include:

 

  • ADMINISTRATION (George Washington)
  • BELITTLE (Thomas Jefferson)   
  • BULLY PULPIT (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • CAUCUS (John Adams)                                      
  • COUNTERVAILING (Thomas Jefferson)
  • HOSPITALIZATION (Warren G. Harding)
  • MUCKRAKER (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • NORMALCY (Woodrow Wilson)
  • O.K. (Martin Van Buren)                            
  • SANCTION (Thomas Jefferson)                 

 

 

About The Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.  For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.

For more information, call +1.512.815.8836 or email info@languagemonitor.com



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2004 Presidential Election Impacted the Way Americans Speak

How the 2004 Presidential Election Impacted the Way Americans Speak

 

Danville, California (November 11, 2004) MetaNewsWire The recently concluded Presidential Election of 2004 has significantly impacted the manner in which Americans communicate with each other and not always in a positive way. For the eight months leading up to the Election, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) has tracked the way Americans communicate with each other about politics. To do this, GLM created its exclusive PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient), a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the print, electronic media and the Internet. Some forty words and phrases were analyzed for the Post-Election Survey, including flip flop/flopping, quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, liar!, and misleader.

The PQ Index is perhaps the most in-depth, algorithmic analysis of political word usage ever attempted during a US Presidential campaign. After meeting certain threshold criteria, the index measured how frequently the words and phrases were used in their given political contexts. Then were then tracked on a bi-weekly basis, with greater weight provided for appearances in the major media. Additionally, greater weight was assigned to changes in frequency of appearance the closer the survey came to the election, itself.

Perhaps the one point of agreement by both Republicans and Democrats in the immediate aftermath of the campaign was that moral values played a vastly more important role than had hitherto been estimated. This was re-enforced by the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research with Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, which distributed their information to the media through the Associated Press.

The PQ Index picked up this trend months earlier, when issues related to moral values would surface and then, actually, gain in strength as the campaign progressed. By the end of the campaign, these moral values-related words and phrases dominated the pre-Election PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) of Hot Political Buzzwords released on November 1. Specifically, thirteen or more of the top 20 words and phrases that dominated the media in the run-up to the election, can be classified as directly related to the moral values.

Both the major parties and the mainstream media appear to be surprised at the primacy of the moral values issue atop the exit-poll surveys, though they have used the terms tracked in the PQ Index some hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times in the preceding month. What led to this miss was that fact that the moral values question was narrowly interpreted to mean the gay marriage and the Mary Cheney incident. (Both Kerry and Edwards cited the sexuality of the vice presidents daughter, Mary Cheney in their debates, a move widely viewed in the subsequent polls as gratuitous.)

In fact, the idea of moral values includes media bias, flip flopping for political gain, the question of a just or unjust war, the disrespecting of a wartime president (as in Fahrenheit 911), tagging the Chief Executive as a Liar or misleader and the rise of the uncivil war in political discourse / dis-coarse. In fact, The Top Five terms in the November PQ Index can all be viewed as related to moral values, as can be seven of the Top Ten — and 13 of the Top Twenty.

Another factor has been the rampant incivility be found in the political discourse in American politics which has reached unprecedented heights or, rather, lows. It can be argued that not since the Civil War era, when President Lincoln was frequently depicted by adversaries as a gangly, gaping baboon, has the discourse sunken to such a profane level. In fact, such is the decline in the political discourse during this campaign that future historians might actually wonder if the battle being fought was between the “Blue States” and the “Red States” rather than between the forces of Terrorism and The West.

This phenomenon is also related to the “Myth of the 24-Hour News Cycle,” where it is argued that once a politically-sensitive buzzword is launched into todays media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of media momentum and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the 24 hours news cycle.

Some of the key words and phrases that have gained visibility during the 2004 Presidential Election follow.

Colossal Error: Kerrys judgment on Bushs Iraq policy. Evidently following California Olive Growers Association Guidelines for measuring the size of olives — Large, Extra Large, Jumbo, Gigantic, Colossal and Super Colossal. This leaves wiggle room for a ‘super-colossal error’.

Flip Flop/Flopping: Formerly referred to gymnastic routines, pancakes, and dolphin acts (Flipper); now a mainstream political term.

Girlie Men: His Honor, the Governator’s, characterization of political opponents.

Global Test: Kerrys description of the bar he would set before committing the US to pre-emptive strikes

Incuriosity: The campaign season with the President being labeled as Incurious George.

Jobless Recovery: A catch=phrase belied by the creation of 2.1 million new jobs in 2004.

Liars!: Signifies the virulence of the name-calling between opponent supporters. Bush wins the ‘Liar Poll with a 2:1 lead over Kerry.

Liberal: Now looked upon as a pejorative; for future reference, please use progressive.

Mary Cheney: For better or for worse, now a household name used in more than 100,000 media citations in the preceding six weeks..

Media Bias: A contentious issue, especially when used in conjunction with the Dan Rather “60 Minutes” imbroglio.

Misleader: MoveOn.org started this all by calling the sitting president a ‘misleader’.

Moral Values: Currently in more than 4,000 media stories; widely varies in interpretation.

Political Incivility: A catch-all category for various rude directives — Cheney, Heinz-Kerry, et al. combined here.

Quagmire: A fading, Viet Nam-era term rescued from obscurity.

Red States/Blue States: Before November 2, 2004, a relatively unknown term, a shorthand used by political pundits, describing Republican-leaning states vs. Democrat-leaning states.

Rush-to-War: The short-hand by Administration opponents for the run-up to the Iraq war.

Swift Boats: Might have torpedoed Kerrys presidential aspirations. Actually, Fast Patrol Craft (PCF), small, shallow draft-water vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.

Two Americas: John Edwards frequent of America as divided between rich and poor, the jobless and the employed, liberals (err, progressives) and conservatives.

— Paul JJ Payack

 

Myth of 24-hour News Cycle:

 

  • Directly Impacts

  • (and Undermines) the 2004 Presidential Campaign

 

October Surprise Short-lived Compared to August Surprise

 Danville, California (October 19, 2004) Though it is commonly assumed that the media is now on a 24-hour news cycle, the opposite appears to be true, according to an exclusive analysis of The Global Language Monitor’s PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient). Though the day-to-day headlines of the 2004 Presidential Campaign are relatively transient, the ideas encapsulated in the political buzzwords that GLM tracks take several months to cycle through the electronic and print media, the internet, and cyberspace, particularly the blogosphere.

Once a ‘politically-sensitive’ buzzword is launched into today’s media world, it seems to persist for an indeterminate period, building a kind of ‘media momentum’ and extending the news cycle rather than shrinking it. This persistence seems at odds with the general perception of the media being fixated on the ’24 hours news cycle’.

The PQ Index (Political-sensitivity Quotient) released monthly by The Global Language Monitor is a proprietary algorithm that tracks politically sensitive words and phrases in the media and on the Internet.

A current example: the PQ Index has been the tracking the “Swift Boats” issue for over six months as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Though it peaked in the last few weeks at No. 1 in the August Tracking Index with the release of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, it remains strongly entrenched in the Top Ten in the October survey. The evidence suggests that the issue will persist for some time to come; definitely through November 2nd.

Another example might be the labeling of President Bush as a Liar. This first surfaced in early spring as a result of ads launched by 527 organizations, such as MoveOn.org, in an action without precedent in the mainstream media, boldly labeling the sitting president a Liar. This was an early version of this years attack ads that would proliferate throughout the year, and was little noticed by the mainstream media at the time, except as a curiosity.

The ads, however, proved to be harbingers of what was to follow. Over the course of the next six months the label stuck, increasingly resonating especially on the Internet and in the blogosphere. This month the term sits at No. 11 on the PQ Index, down from No. 4 in August. In fact, Bush as Liar! is up some 1400% since the beginning of the year. An additional wrinkle is that Kerry, too, is now being labeled as a Liar! by his critics with nearly 40% of the references tracked by the PQ Index labeling the Democratic nominee as such.

Another example is the Dead and Done Presidents phenomenon. With the passing of Ronald Reagan in June and the much-anticipated publication of Bill Clintons autobiography the next month, these two former presidents, leapt to the top of the PQ Index in June and July respectively. In the October Index, they both still rank in the Top Twenty demonstrating the persistence of their long-shadows over the current campaign.

Fahrenheit, representing Michael Moores controversial film, Fahrenheit 451, took the top ranking in the July PQ Index, jumping some 400% from the previous month. Fahrenheit maintained its No. 1 position in August and currently ranks as No. 6 in the October Index. Mr. Moore, more than most, seems to have appreciated the new “Surprise” phenomenon, though for maximum impact he might have, in retrospect, released his film a month later, in August rather than July.

And now, in what could be a sign of mounting difficulties for the Democratic Presidential Campaign, this months top political buzzwords (including ‘Dan Rather-related Bias, ‘Liberal,’ Global Test,’ ‘Flip flop/flopping’ and Swift Boats) are creating an inhospitable climate, in many cases overshadowing the key messages of the Democratic Nominee, according to the October PQ Index.

In the October PQ Index, Swift Boats is actually getting more media hits and citations than all otherkey Kerry messages combined. These messages include; “Two Americas,” “Bush the Misleader,” “jobless recovery,” and “global outsourcing”.

With weeks remaining in the Campaign, there is a very real danger that Kerrys key messages will continue to be swamped by the “flip flop,” “Swift Boat” and “Rathergate” (and now the Mary Cheney) issues.

This is not to say that an October Surprise is not possible. Based on recent history and the uncertainty associated with al Qaeda it would be wise to expect any number of such events. However, the importance of the August Surprise with its attendant , momentum-building sustainability, should not be overlooked by current, or future, campaigns.

– Analysis by Paul JJ Payack

Political Buzz Issues Live Longer on the Net  

 

Read More:

A Sound Bite is Born: Tracking Politically Sensitive Words in These Politically Sensitive Times (San Diego CityBeat)

Incurious George — Has the President a New Title (Reuters)

Another Obscure 16th C. Word Disinterred (UK)

Incurious in China (Taiwan)

Flashback: Don’t Misunderestimate Dubya!

Misunderestimate on National Public Radio’s (NPR): Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

ArnoldSpeak Has California Crowds Listening! (Reuters)

Chad Blocking the Road to the White House (CNN)

Presi dential Debates Score at Grade School Level

San Fransisco Chronicle on Chads and Their Aftermath

For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.



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