Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Strap *this* to the back of your cat.

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Weasel Words

Let politicians know we know they’re talking crap.
  (+8, -5)
(+8, -5)
  [vote for,

Recently, the amount of bull that MPs having been spouting on the radio has really been starting to annoy me. They come out with a string of words that a) absolutely do not answer the question asked and b) make us think they assume we’re all idiots. And that’s not even counting John Prescott’s* gibberish..

So, with this device, any time a politician (or government representative, etc.) starts with a non-answer a small, animatronic weasel will spring to life in the studio, dancing around and shrieking, “Weasel Words, Weasel Words, Weasel Words!”, hopefully distracting them enough to supply a real answer while they’re off-guard. As a bonus, it means we don’t have to listen their gibberish (although a 5 minute burst of “weasel words!” could be tedious) – might have to do something about a cut-off time…

Because there is a particular pattern of words that make up these non-answers, it should be pretty easy to pick out the main phrases. Voice recognition technology will allow for computer analysis of the speakers words (excluding Mr Prescott) and the familiar weasel-phrases will be picked out for ridicule. Fuzzy logic will allow for variations on a theme, covering new non-answers as well. All the electronics can all be contained in the unit’s base – a bit like one of those dancing flower things.

* For non-UK bakers, John Prescott is Deputy Prime Minister, and apparently has no grasp of English grammar whatsoever...

Texbinder, Mar 21 2006

Paxman vs Howard http://news.bbc.co....night25/4182569.stm
Make sure you check out the actual video link on the page. It's worrying how close this man came to being prime minister. [hidden truths, Mar 23 2006]

Don Watson's bestseller http://www.forbesbo...e.asp?prod_cd=IRZ76
Best book I've read in five years. [ConsulFlaminicus, Mar 23 2006]


       Need to combine this with "I Hate That Song".   

       I especially hate non-answers because I'm vulnerable to it. I have to actually pay attention to catch it.   

       I can of course, but it's really annoying.
Darkelfan, Mar 21 2006

       Good point, but I'm thinking of something that would tell them to their face we know they're talking bull. Apparently, human interviewers just can't get that point across - at least, not without slapping them.
Texbinder, Mar 21 2006

       Mr Zeno, will you give this idea a fishbone?   

       Well, mr Reporter, I'm glad you asked me that, so regarding the entirety of the halfbakery voting system I can honestly say that I think it is wonderfull how many people get and give pastry. The bun is here to stay, buns to the people I say, which reminds me, did I ever tell you that story about the president, the pope and the quassant?
zeno, Mar 22 2006

       Seen on reference letters:

-- I would waste no time in hiring this person.
-- I cannot recommend this person highly enough.
-- I enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever.
-- I can assure you that no person would be better for this job.
-- You will be lucky if you can get this person to work for you.

       (All from the book: Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations [LIAR].)
bristolz, Mar 22 2006

       Brilliant. Perhaps, for more frequent offenders, simply suspend a large bucket of gunge (a la CBBC) above their heads, ready to overturn at the slightest weasel.   

       For bakers not in the know, a 'weasel word' is a word that tricks you into thinking that it isn't bad, when it is. Instead of 'America is brilliant', 'some say that America is brilliant'. They are just as bad (thank you, wikipedia). Also, apparently adding the word 'weasel' into any sentence can make it funny.
dbmag9, Mar 22 2006

       So a weasel word is similar weasel to double-speak? I mean, weasel it's basically weasel talking weasel a lot without weasel saying weasel anything?   

       [dbmag9], I don't think I'm doing it right. This isn't funny at all.
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Mar 22 2006

       //So a weasel word is similar weasel to double-speak? I mean, weasel it's basically weasel talking weasel a lot without weasel saying weasel anything?// [NTSS]
Tee hee hee, weasel.
methinksnot, Mar 22 2006

       I was watching the budget speech today (off work due to sickness). Tony Blair (PM)seemed to be re-acting to Gordon Brown (Chancellor)as though GB was a stand-up comedian - his responses were totally peculiar. John Prescott kept laughing and making weird gestures to someone we couldn't see...   

       and then they all went "yeah!" it was all totally bizarre. Very distracting really, I have no idea how this is going to change my finances in the next fiscal year.
po, Mar 22 2006

       Seriously, I'd like journalists who competently interview politicians and make their displeasure known if the politians give non-answers. I don't want a circus or a machine, just a competent, well-informed, courageous human. Less distance and abstraction, not more.
jutta, Mar 23 2006

       Oh, you're ignoring the body of the idea in favor of the title, as a joke. Got it.
jutta, Mar 23 2006

       //journalists who competently interview politicians and make their displeasure known if the politians give non-answers.// I think we have some of these working on our two main non-commercial networks. I admire their skill and fortitude. However, it cuts both ways. There are times when a straight, unqualified answer can be highly misleading, and I also see less scrupulous journalists attempt to exploit this - make the interviewee appear to be prevaricating, when the question itself is unfair.
spidermother, Mar 23 2006

       I think that Weasel Words could possibly be described as a synecdoche - scratches stubbled chin and frowns knowingly to add gravity to theory (then retreats as prolonged semantics discussion breaks out. + For anything that is anti-politician.   

       By the way UK readers, did you realise that Weasel Jolts is an anagram of Tessa Jowell? - though not.
xenzag, Mar 23 2006

       synecdoche n.- A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).   

       [xenzag], do you read through the dictionary for obscure words?
Texbinder, Mar 23 2006

       \\Seriously, I'd like journalists who competently interview politicians and make their displeasure known if the politians give non-answers\\ Too true [jutta].   

       Link for the infamous (for Brits anyway) interview between Jeremy Paxman and Michael Howard.
hidden truths, Mar 23 2006

       Profiled on CNBC this morning, an MRI derived device that is a highly accurate lie detector.   

       Introduce that one into politics, and you may, through the Law of Unintended Consequences, get only politicians who are pathological liars, and are thus able to evade... Oh.
theircompetitor, Mar 23 2006

       Having watched Prime Minister's Question Time, I do wonder if the back benchers already perform this service. They certainly *look* like weasels.
DrCurry, Mar 23 2006


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