Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cheap shots and a pair of Air Ernsts

Ron Fournier, via Ann Arbor Review of Books.
Dear Ron Fournier,

I hear that you wrote,
Count how many times Obama uses the words “I,” “me,” and “my.” Compare that number to how often he says, “You,” “we,” “our.” If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed.
Like almost every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt, at least, Obama always uses at least three times as many 1st-person plurals as 1st-person singulars (the exceptions with ratios below 3.0, the most egotistical or unguarded presidents of modern times, are George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, which should give you a pretty good idea of how useful this kind of analysis actually is). You could learn this from Google, Ron, if you own one. Counting 2nd-person pronouns would only make the difference much bigger; "If the first number is greater than the second," then the speaker is an imaginary freak—it simply doesn't happen.

Eric Ostermeier's presidential pronoun chart, via Language Log.

Obama is typically right in the lower-normal range just above Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and significantly below Eisenhower, FDR, and Reagan. He patterns with Clinton in using unusually high numbers of both kinds of pronouns, which may be responsible for the sense of warmth both often convey. In my tentative analysis of last night's State of the Union speech Obama, with 95 1st-person singular pronouns out of 6494 words or 1.46% of the total word count and 313 1st-person plural or 4.81%, has a ratio of 3.29, which is a little lower than his usual range; he may have been in a slightly self-centered mood.

What's really interesting is Joni Ernst in her official GOP response to the State of the Union. With 23 I/me/my words out of 1217 words total and 38 we/us/our (1.89% and 3.12% respectively), she has a phenomenally low ratio of 1.65, lower than that of any president and demonstrating uncontrollable psychopathy. Thanks for your attention.

Via iz QuotesNot as funny as it looks, sorry.
Tom Cole (R-OK) on NPR explaining how the president was mean to Congress first: "We didn't issue seven veto threats, we didn't take executive actions." No, I guess not! Then again, Obama didn't pass any legislation. Oh wait, you didn't pass any either.

And, speaking of playing with people's feet, some loafers that Joni Ernst's mom would approve of:

"Nike's new Air Ernst line". Via The News Talkers, from which I also stole both jokes.

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