22.9.09

I COULD NOT FAIL TO
DISAGREE
WITH YOU LESS

Former US president George W. Bush has topped a poll
of the worst examples of mangled English,
followed closely by Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Donald Rumsfeld.

French footballer-cum philospher Eric Cantona and
former US president Bill Clinton also produced
prime examples of gobbledegook, according to
the online poll of 4,000 people inspired by
the Plain English Campaign.

Notoriously language-challenged Bush romped to the top
accolade for his: "Our enemies are innovative and
resourceful and so are we. They never stop thinking
about new ways to harm our country and
our people, and neither do we."

Second came bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-California
governor Schwarzenegger, who during an election
campaign in 2003 minted the puzzling: "I think
that gay marriage should be between
a man and a woman."


The rest of the top 10 in the poll, commissioned by an
insurance company after it won an award from
the Plain English Campaign, were:


3. Rumsfeld, in February 2002: "Reports that say that
something hasn't happened are always interesting to me,
because as we know, there are known knowns; there are
things we know we know. We also know there are known
unknowns; that is to say we know there are some
things we do not know. But there are also unknown
unknowns: the ones we don't know we don't know."


4. Murray Walker, motor racing commentator: "The
lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one
behind it which is identical."


5. John Motson, football commentator: "For those
of you watching in black and white, Spurs
are playing in yellow."


6. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, explaing budget plans
to lawmakers in July this year: "Total spending will
continue to rise and it will be a zero
percent rise in 2013-14."


7. Clinton, in 1998 grand jury testimony about Monica
Lewinsky: "It depends upon what the meaning of the
word 'is' is. If 'is' means 'is and never has been' that's
one thing - if it means 'there is none', that was a
completely true statement."


8. Cantona, 1995: "When the seagulls follow the
trawler, it's because they think sardines
will be thrown into the sea."


9. Bush, July 2001: "I know what I believe. I will
continue to articulate what I believe and what I
believe - I believe what I believe is right."


10. London mayor Boris Johnson, on British satirical
gameshow "Have I Got News for You" in 2003:
"I could not fail to disagree with you less."


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