Carol Platt Liebau: You Think <i>You're</i> Having a Bad Day?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You Think You're Having a Bad Day?

Well, if you're Michael Hiltzik, you're right.

But things have been tough for Congressman Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, too (who is a lovely person, incidentally). Apparently, somehow an insult with an expletive found its way into a constituent letter. My guess? Some young staffers were playing around, and forgot to delete all traces of their mischief. It's nonetheless a pretty funny addition, and probably reflects someone's true feelings about the constituent to whom it's addressed.

The whole thing reminds me of a guy I knew at the Harvard Law Review -- very brilliant, but somewhat "quirky," to put it kindly. He coded a function key on the computers so that, whenever it was hit, the phrase "I'm not wearing any underwear" was inserted into Review text. Funny now, slightly less so then.

Probably the way this expletive embarassment will work out for Congressman Emerson.


Blogger Sven said...

But things have been tough for Congressman Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri

I'll bet! No wonder he likes to cuss.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

8:59 PM  
Blogger CAB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:40 PM  
Blogger CAB said...

Sven makes a clever comment, and in so doing advances one reasonable explanation for the crude phase appearing as the last sentence just above the Congresswoman's signature. I empathize with a busy legislator likely presented with a stack of supposedly proofread and vetted papers for her signature before the next meeting or vote. Consider that Carol Platt Liebau made six postings in the day, on top of everything else in her schedule. Last posting of the day, "Congressman." We've all been there. In fact I just went there: it was the fifth posting of the day.

Then there is the second likelyhood: I downloaded the letter from here. The offending phrase jumps out at me because the horizontal spacing is obviously wrong, as is the case of the first word in the "sentence." All sentences show the default spacing between them, except the offending sentence, with what looks like twice the normal spacing.

Small "i" first person singular should have been auto-corrected. But not if you took a soft copy of the letter, noted the horizontal and vertical position of the last period, then created a blank document, returned and tabbed just past the appropriate location. Type in Notepad, "i hate you a******." Copy and paste into the word processor and the software will not autocorrect. Do a couple trial runs, holding the results up with the signed letter in back or front to validate placement, then run the original signed document through the printer. Prank accomplished.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Nice try, CAB -- but here's the thing: I used the term "congressman" advisedly, rather than substituting the silly "congressperson" or awkward "congresswoman." To me, it's a generic title like "chairman" -- and has little to do with gender . . . same way that we all know that "all men are created equal" includes women, too. No gender-conscious language here, thank you. We've got better things to worry about.

8:26 AM  

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