Obama Lexicon

Friday, 8 January 2010

I’ve noticed that Obama’s stock turns of phrase appear more and more often on blogs and coming from statements from other folks all over the place. To document, these are:

  • Let’s be clear
  • Make no mistake

I don’t believe this is confirmation bias. They’re used in the same rhetorical contexts, for the most part. It’s a subconscious sign that the person speaking or writing has a deep respect for (and very likely looks up to) the President.

Personally, I like it when he talks about teachable moments, when he’s dealing with thorny but morally important issues. I don’t know that I always agree with what he defines as a teachable moment, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment that there are times when it is important to learn a lesson, and to let the moment teach that lesson to you. Your reaction to that moment provides something you can teach yourself, and then others. It’s a good mechanism for thoughtful living.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

When I was very small, the worst word I knew was “hate.” I could get smacked for using it too freely or inappropriately. Later, I was taught the typical truism “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.” Once I’d processed that by being required to sit in a chair and think about manners a few times, I then became confused about the difference between a comment and a compliment. I understood perfectly well what a compliment was, but a comment was a conundrum. Apparently a comment didn’t have to be complimentary. So to my tiny binary mind, this certainly meant that comments were not something that was good.

It’s toddler logic, like the time I asked Mom to name everything that began with the letter m. Hey, Mom begins with m doesn’t it? She must know everything else that begins with m then.