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Punditry


Aren't pundits interesting people? Well, they don't always interest this person! I have heard some really whacky analysis from some pundits in my lifetime. First off, what is a pundit? According to dictionary.com... Pundit: 1. a learned person, expert, or authority. 2. a person who makes comments or judgments, esp. in an authoritative manner; critic or commentator. (I can't tell from the two definitions if they are they are mutually exclusive or complementary - is a pundit an expert, or does he only make comments?) The word pundit comes from a Hindi (Sanskrit) word pandita: a man esteemed for his wisdom or learning; a title of respect.

I like the word pundit itself because it contains the word pun. Again I appeal to dictionary.com... Pun: 1. the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words. 2. the word or phrase used in this way.

As much as I like puns, though, I don't always like what pundits say. They can draw some of the wildest conclusions from a set of facts or events, suggesting a different meaning, much like a punster does, only it doesn't always bring laughter. Their conclusions sometimes leave me scratching my head or talking back to the radio or TV. (Just ask my wife....)

Here in the upstate of South Carolina we've broken some records this week for cold temperatures and are experiencing a bit of "Indian Winter" - a term I use based on the term "Indian Summer" to describe having a bit of winter in the middle of the fall, rather than a bit of summer in the middle of the fall. This has to drive the global warming crowd as crazy as having to postpone a global warming conference because of snow this past spring - read the story here.

I ran across a map recently from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal agency. It shows temperature trends from January through October of this year in the continental USA. Below is that map:

map of temperature trends

As I looked at it, I thought of the map I'd seen of the county by county election results in the 2008 presidential election. Below is that map:

map of 2008 presidential results

Would I be going out on a limb as an amateur pundit to say that it appears that Obama voters may be causing global warming? I appeal to the collective wisdom of my readers to make their own comments about either or both of the maps. What conclusions do some of you pundits draw from what you see? Feel free to be as whacked out as professional pundits would be. Have you heard some punditry lately that you think is whacked out?

quotation...

"Claiming to be wise, they became fools." Romans 1:22

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

OK, who put a "stop payment" on my reality check?


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7 Comments on “Punditry”

  1. #1 Anita
    on Nov 20th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Pretty obvious from the weather map that allll the hot air is in DC area!! Have a blessed Thanksgiving, even if it’s only Rock Cornish.

  2. #2 Rob
    on Nov 20th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    @Anita – LOL! Maybe it’s a case of “local warming” (or even “loco warming”)?

    Thanks! May you have a blessed Thanksgiving also.

  3. #3 David McGuire
    on Nov 21st, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Totally unrelated observation—did you notice how much larger the counties are in the western states? Granted, there are fewer people living in many of those areas, but it is a rather striking situation.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Nov 21st, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    @David McGuire – Good observation. Overall, it’s a very interesting map.

  5. #5 Jessica
    on Nov 21st, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Your maps reminded me of another interesting map that is hanging on the wall in the English office. Here is a link to the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122211987961064719.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#project%3DPERSONALITY08%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive
    The map ranks each state by the personalities of its residents. Very interesting to see that my home state (Maine) ranks nearly last for agreeableness.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Nov 22nd, 2008 at 7:20 am

    @Jessica – Wow! That is really interesting! I’m sure that if you and your sibs were up in Maine, their agreeableness rating would have skyrocketed. :-D

  7. #7 Michael
    on Nov 25th, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Sorry it’s taken me a few days to comment on this one. I didn’t get my usual e-mail reminder about this particular post. Glad I checked to see if there were one I missed.

    Pundits or “talking heads” are a bane to the world today. Even those with whom I often agree can grate on my nerves. There is such a need to self-promote and be arrogant that it absolutely turns me off. One pundit that I find informative and eloquent is Charles Krauthammer. He writes for the Washington Post and is often on Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Brit Hume.

    Something I heard this morning set me off a little bit. There was a story about how very few young people who had not gone to college had voted in the most recent election. They were making this sound like it was a big huge problem. My thought was if they don’t want to vote then that’s fine with me. Why do we wring our hands and get so worked up like it’s some disaster if some people don’t vote. I’m pretty sure most people knew there was an election and these people chose not to vote. They’re not breaking a law by not voting. Personally, I find these big “get out the vote” efforts disturbing. Do we really want people to vote who have to be coaxed and intimidated into going to the polls? If you don’t care enough to vote unless someone provokes you to do so, then I personally don’t want you to vote. Rant over.


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