h a l f b a k e r y
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Inspired by my unfulfilled anticipation of the content of "Speech
This invention is a job, to be filled by a stocky, middle-aged
graduate in semantics, grammatics, hermetics or any other
related discipline. He (or indeed she) will be provided with a
striped polo shirt, a stack of red and yellow cards, and
The Speech Referee's job is to stand in the background of any
televised (or radiused) debate,speech or interview, particularly if
of a political nature. The Referee takes no part in the speech,
has no view on the content or opinions expressed by the
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
dialog or debate are broken. For example, if a speaker uses the
trick of classical rhetoric known as "sequitam ipse verbena"
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
2% in real terms in the last decade'), the Referee will intervene
a short whistle and give a yellow card to the offendor.
Or if an interviewee uses the old standby of political speeches
to the Greeks as "to telfono moy kaluptetai sta pontikia" (phrasing
question in such a loaded way that the listeners have no option but
to agree with the sentiment; as, when asked if agricultural
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
example, Jezzer 'the blade' Paxman) frequently let interviewees
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]
||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.
||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?
||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.
||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
||U.S. political debates are one of the few things that
would benefit from a healthy dose of vuvuzela.
||//Nobody important would agree to abide by these
||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,
political parties (and many other people) just want
Third, all participants would be equally bound.
||(*or, indeed, to use two words with identical meaning in
order to complete a list of three)
||//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.