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David Quigg

David Quigg

Posted March 25, 2009 | 02:51 AM (EST)

A Chance For You To Squander Your Time on Earth Like I Just Did


I just posted a comment on The Anonymous Liberal's blog.

I was responding to a blog post responding to a blog post responding to a newspaper piece. If I'd just written the previous sentence before I started on this whole thing, I could have saved myself some time. Never bother to respond to a blog post responding to a blog post responding to a newspaper piece. You have better things to do with your life. This is at least doubly true when the offending blog post is asserting the preposterous: in this case, that an error in pronunciation confirms that President Obama is stupid. Furthermore, the better-things-to-do-with-your-life rule is at least quadruply true when Obama's attacker is Powerline's John Hinderaker, who once acknowledged that it was "maybe" hyperbolic of him to write this ...

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

WARNING: There's really no reason to keep reading this. Basically, I'm a guy who can't get an annoying song out of my head and I'm offering -- generously -- to sing the annoying song straight in your ear. So run away. Seriously.

If you're still here, here's that comment I posted on Anonymous Liberal ...

Having just read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage that started all this, it's now clear to me that Hinderaker's ridicule is even more specious than I originally realized.


The president was talking about Orion Energy Systems. OES makes energy-efficient skylights for houses. They don't make telescopes. They don't make components for NASA. Yes, skylights let in light from the sun. The sun is in space. True. All true. But the president can be forgiven for not having constellations on his mind when he discussed skylights.

Now, I grant you that I would have looked at the "Orion" in Orion Energy Systems and assumed it was pronounced like the constellation. But the same logic would also lead me to mispronounce the name of GM's plant in Lake Orion, Michigan. How is that "Orion" pronounced? Click here for audio from a local government meeting in the village of Lake Orion, Michigan.

Note the non-astronomical pronunciation of the village's name.

For that matter, Orion Energy Systems' founder could just as well be Mr. Orion -- just like all these Orions who came up when I searched the white pages just now. These Orions might pronounce their names any number of ways. Some might even sound French. Or worse.

Finally, what I'm realizing is that I care about different things than John Hinderaker (whose name I don't pretend to know how to pronounce). It doesn't matter to me whether or not my president mispronounces a company's name. What matters is what he does next. In this case, the president returned to the microphone to correct himself. Self-assured people do this. They don't panic. They don't offer the CEO stimulus money if he agrees to change the pronunciation of the company's name right then and there. Self-assured people admit mistakes. It's good.

Finally -- and yes I know I typed "finally" at the start of the previous paragraph -- I, too, want to admit a mistake. I have now wasted twenty minutes of my life, doing web research to counter Hinderaker's idiocy. Hinderaker doesn't matter to me. His mocking of the president's intelligence doesn't ring true to any fair-minded American who's heard Obama at a press conference or at a town hall.

I'm not going to waste my time like this again.


Huffington Post blogger David Quigg lives in Seattle. His March 17 HuffPost -- "Keep Yapping, Dick. (Why Even Another 9/11 Can't Redeem Cheney and Bush)" -- is not a waste of time. Click here to follow his obligatory Twitter feed.