The “Programmatic Nonfit” and other nonsense

This week, the Minnesota Vikings cut star receiver Randy Moss from the team. On Wednesday, November 03, 2010, Coach Brad Childress addressed the media. He was asked why Moss was cut. His answer is classic. Childress said Moss was a “programmatic nonfit.” The line is great because it seems to say something when in fact it says nothing.  

Though it is a classic in the say something yet say nothing cannon, it does not come close to matching the greatest say something say nothing moments of public discourse.

Alexander Haig, President Reagan’s Secretary of State, takes the #1 spot in my book. The said intermediate range missiles were “at the vortex of cruciality.”

In 2006, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Fran Townsend responded to a question about the failure to kill Bin Laden by saying, “Well, I’m not sure — it’s a success that hasn’t occurred yet. I don’t know that I view that as a failure.”

The list of famous quotes, where people appear to say something when they actually are not saying anything, is long. The tragedy is that people come to expect to be talked to like this. We expect nonanswers. We expect people to spin, obfuscate, or deny reality. In many ways, this is what public discourse has become.  

I used to tell the middle school and high school student I taught that if they had something to say and could say it well, they were ahead of 90% of people. We need people who have something to say and can say it well. We listen to people who can speak intelligently and articulately.

The more intelligent straight talk the better for everyone. It’s no wonder then that Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and you no, no.”


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