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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Egad! What’s the ‘chad’ blocking the path to the White House?

November 13, 2000
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT)

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — The final answer to who’s going to be the next U.S. president may be determined by “chad.”

Chads Through History

Chads through history


Not ready for Webster’s: What is a pregnant chad?

So who, or what, is chad?

A) A country in Africa?

B) The name of a saint?

C) Rob Lowe’s brother?

D) A lowly scrap of paper that may decide who will be the next leader of the free world?

All four answers are correct. Chad is also the name of a couple of major league baseball players and one half of a British pop-singing duo from the ’60s.

But if you guessed “D,” you are informed enough to understand the vote counting process in Florida.

Politicians are tossing the term “chad” around as if everyone were familiar with the word. Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s campaign adviser, George Mitchell, is among them.

“You can run those machine ballots through five times and you’ll get five different totals because the chads fall off with each count,” he said, explaining on “Fox News Sunday” the reason he believes ballots in Florida should be recounted by hand.

But Mitchell’s use of “chads” betrayed his own lack of familiarity with the word. “Chad is its own plural,” said Paul J.J. Payack, president and CEO of yourdictionary.com, which is based in California.

The Web site www.yourdictionary.com defines the word as follows:

1. The confetti-like scrap punched out of cards or paper tape (also “chaff,” “computer confetti” or “keypunch droppings”).
2. The perforated strips on the edge of paper for sprocket feed printers after they have been separated from the printed portion (also “perf,” “perfory,” or “snaf”).
Etymology: Possibly from the last name of the inventor of the Chadless cardpunch, which cut U-shapes in punch cards, rather than open circles or rectangles. (The U’s formed holes when folded back.)

“Chad” would then be a back-formation from “Chadless” misunderstood: If the Chadless keypunches don’t produce it, other keypunches must produce “chad.”

The word appears to have entered the national lexicon in the late 1940s, around the time people began to refer to “bug” as a computer glitch after a researcher blamed a moth among a group of vacuum tubes for affecting ENIAC, the primitive computer powered by thousands of such tubes, said Payack. That was also about the time when IBM began using punch cards that warned users not to fold, spindle or mutilate.

In Florida, vote-counters may have wished for a “chadometer” to measure whether a bit of chad is sufficiently dislodged to qualify it as “dangling.”

When the hand recount began in Palm Beach County, the canvassing board there said it would count a vote if any of the corners of the chad were punched.

The board then decided that they would instead use the “sunlight test” — if they could see sun through an indentation, it would count.

About a quarter of the way through the counting, however, a board member determined that the light test was flawed and told the other members to go back to the first test.

According to county spokesman Bob Nichols, there are five types of chad.

Ones that count:
• Hanging door — one corner hanging off
• Swinging door — two corners hanging off
• Tri-chad — three corners hanging off

Chads that don’t count:
• Pregnant — bulges, but not punched through
• Dimple — simple indentation

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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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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