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Speech Referee II

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Inspired by my unfulfilled anticipation of the content of "Speech Referee".

This invention is a job, to be filled by a stocky, middle-aged graduate in semantics, grammatics, hermetics or any other language- content- related discipline. He (or indeed she) will be provided with a black- and-white striped polo shirt, a stack of red and yellow cards, and a whistle.

The Speech Referee's job is to stand in the background of any televised (or radiused) debate,speech or interview, particularly if it is of a political nature. The Referee takes no part in the speech, and has no view on the content or opinions expressed by the participants. Nor does he shape the nature of the discussion - that role is left to the interviewer, the mediator, or other usual person.

The sole job of the Speech Referee is to intervene when the rules of dialog or debate are broken. For example, if a speaker uses the trick of classical rhetoric known as "sequitam ipse verbena" (which, loosely translated, means answering a question other than the one which was asked; as, when asked if nurses' salaries will be cut, replies that 'the number of nurses in the NHS has increased by almost 2% in real terms in the last decade'), the Referee will intervene with a short whistle and give a yellow card to the offendor.

Or if an interviewee uses the old standby of political speeches known to the Greeks as "to telfono moy kaluptetai sta pontikia" (phrasing a rhetorical question in such a loaded way that the listeners have no option but to agree with the sentiment; as, when asked if agricultural subsidies should be preserved, replying along the lines of 'who amongst us wants to see the children our stalwart dairy farmers starving to death?'), another yellow card is flashed. Three yellow cards and you get a red one. One more breach and you're out.

For some reason, even the most aggressive political interviewers (for example, Jezzer 'the blade' Paxman) frequently let interviewees get away with blatantly illogical or inconsistent statements. No more. Henceforth, the Speech Referee will make sure that the mechanics of conversation are looked after, allowing the interviewee to concentrate on the content.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2010

Prompted by... Speech_20Referee
[MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2010]

[link]






       Ah - not seen that. Is it a US show?   

       My thinking was that, in sports, you have referees to ensure that the "mechanics" of the game are adhered to, and other people who do the score-keeping and evaluate performance. So this would be the equivalent for speech.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2010
  

       You get my bun sir. We would all be better off if politicians were held to account for how they pontificate and obfuscate and generally weasel their way out of answering a question.   

       May I suggest that instead of a yellow card system, multiple penalties simply trigger a visit from our old military friend, Corporal Punishment?
Custardguts, Jul 06 2010
  

       I doff my hattington hat, sir.   

       I think the punishment option is less likely to catch on in a modern debating system, attractive though it would be.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2010
  

       Nobody important would agree to abide by these rules, but maybe, if politicians were forced to do it early in their careers, it'd have a weak effect on their behavior later on. Or would filter the most intellectually dishonest out of the political talent pool. [+]   

       Oh, and the referee should be expert in hermaneutics as well as hermetics.
mouseposture, Jul 06 2010
  

       U.S. political debates are one of the few things that would benefit from a healthy dose of vuvuzela.
DrWorm, Jul 08 2010
  

       + I like it.
xandram, Jul 08 2010
  

       //Nobody important would agree to abide by these rules,//   

       Betcha they would, especially around election time. First, how can they keep face whilst arguing that they should be allowed to misdirect, circumlocute and dodge*? Second, all political parties (and many other people) just want coverage. Third, all participants would be equally bound.   

       (*or, indeed, to use two words with identical meaning in order to complete a list of three)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 08 2010
  

       //how can they keep face whilst ...// You or I would be unable, but then, we're neither of us American presidential candidates. The real pros can do it in their sleep.
mouseposture, Jul 08 2010
  
      
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