Sunday, September 05, 2004

I have met the I and he is me.

In The Calgary Sun, columnist Paul Jackson writes an article titled "Let's Wing It", in which he compares the "left" and it's intolerance for dissent against the "right" and it's thoughtful consideration of all viewpoints. Well, heh heh, I don't know about all that. Somehow, the names Neil Boortz, Rush Limbaugh, and a few others are not exactly, at least to my mind, synonymous with "thoughtful consideration of all viewpoints". Nevertheless, he made a statement that pricked my interest. He says that John Kerry seemed to use the pronoun "I" in every other sentence of his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. Really? Hmmm. Off to compare acceptance speeches (you're right, I have no life).

You know, he has a point. I reviewed the acceptance speeches of both Kerry and President Bush and found the following. "I" totaled 71 in Bush's speech, plus two more times when he quoted John Kerry. "I" appeared 106 times in John Kerry's acceptance speech, or 47% more than that of the president. Now, one could be unkind and add the two "I's" from Mr. Bush's speech to John Kerry's total, after all, he was quoting John Kerry, but remember that the "right" is thoughtfully considerate of all viewpoints as well as patiently condescending towards French-coiffed Massachusetts blowhards.

Well, I cleverly thought, maybe it's a challenger's thing against an incumbent or incumbent party. "Let's check the 2000 acceptance speeches," said I, er, that is... was spoken to myself by myself. I found, er, it was discovered by yours truly that in 2000, George Bush used "I", incredibly, almost exactly the same number of times as he did in 2004, 72 times plus once more quoting someone else (a juvenile delinquent he met during a Texas detention center visit). How about Al Gore, the "incumbent"? Holy bejeezus! Albert used the fateful subjective personal pronoun in the 1st person a whopping 154 times in his 2000 acceptance speech. That is more times in one soon-to-be-loser's acceptance speech than did Mr. Bush in two speeches.

Now I, uh, that is to say, the author of this fact-filled, hard-hitting essay upon which you feast your eyes admits that he zipped through all four speeches very quickly. In the case of Mr. Bush and even Mr. Kerry, I,, this human calculator might have missed 1 or 2, but in the case of Al Gore, I...umm...ummm, the administrator of this blog could have missed 20 or 30 "I's".

Frequency chart of the I-word useage in nomination acceptance speeches.
Bush - 2004 - 71 - +/-0
Kerry- 2004 - 106- +2/-0

Bush - 2000 - 72 - +/-0
Gore - 2000 - 154- +20, or maybe +30/-0

TOTAL - Bush/Bush - 143 - dif = +0%
TOTAL- Kerry/Gore - 260 - dif = +82%

I think, uh...uh...umm, it is thought by this Pulitzer-challenged scribe that one of two possibilities may be at play here. Either the difference between the two candidates' use of the subjective personal pronoun "I" is meaningful, in the long run, or it isn't. I, that is to say, this thoughtful considerer of all viewpoints tends to think that both and neither is the case.

Know what I mean?

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