An interesting article
September 8, 2001 11:28 PM   Subscribe

An interesting article on not only Bush but dyslexia in general. When was the last time you heard someone "bumble" and thought of them as ignorant?
posted by geoff. (16 comments total)
This article seems to be more about the media's continued "pass" on Bush's gaffes, even when they didn't indicate just a possible dyslexia or poor speaking skills but instead a genuine meanness or unfitness for office.

Hence the phrase, "Manufacturing Consent".
posted by hincandenza at 12:08 AM on September 9, 2001

I guess I'm sorta guilty of this myself. Every time I try to say "President Bush", it comes out: "Governor Bush".
posted by RavinDave at 12:19 AM on September 9, 2001

Did you know that there are hardly any dyslexic people in Italy? Apparently a lot of the problems stem from the fact that English is such a complicated language, and certain letter-pairs can have up to 20 or more distinct sounds.

Just take 'ough' for example.. rOUGH, thrOUGH, plOUGH, and so on. Whereas in Italian, more letter groupings have the same sound in every context.

English is an extremely hard language, so it's not surprising that some people just can't keep up all the time.. the majority of people make common mistakes all of the time.

I salute all of those immigrants who come to the UK or USA, and manage to learn English in the space of a couple of years. I've been learning French for 8 years and I'm still not fluent.
posted by wackybrit at 12:29 AM on September 9, 2001

Mark Twain once pointed out that you could spell "fish" like this: ghoti. Take the "gh" of "enough," the "o" in "women," and the "ti" of "nation," and you got "fish."
posted by muckster at 6:25 AM on September 9, 2001

It's not just Bush's grammar,'s his vocabulary. He uses words incorrectly. Fairly simple words, too. It appears that he actually doesn't know what the words mean...which is ignorance.
But, we obviously have a solution. Bush should speak italian! .
posted by Doug at 6:51 AM on September 9, 2001

I don't know Doug... have you ever heard his Spanish?
posted by saladin at 6:57 AM on September 9, 2001

One of my sons has dyslexia-he is 38- and while he has a lot of difficulty reading, he has no problem speaking the language. In fact, he speaks rather well.

Bush is not dyslexic. He is simply stupid, ignorant, arrogant and lazy. And he doesn't give a shit.
posted by frankminutillo at 7:36 AM on September 9, 2001

Uh, muckster... the ghoti thing is usually credited to George Bernard Shaw (although my link here says he only popularized the meme), and your second link even says as much at the bottom of the page.
posted by darukaru at 8:03 AM on September 9, 2001

ghoti is Shaw's, of course -- he was, and perhaps remains, the major voice in favor of simplified English (spelling, grammar, etc.).

May we have a consensus that Bush's malapropisms are evidence neither of ignorance nor of stupidity, but simply of being out of his depth rhetorically (which itself is symptomatic of his looking at the world through one-page summaries, a la Reagan?) That's the real point of this article.
posted by dhartung at 8:27 AM on September 9, 2001

wackybrit: English is an extremely hard language, so it's not surprising that some people just can't keep up all the time.. the majority of people make common mistakes all of the time.

Lol. English compared to Russian is like HTML compared to JAVA. Not very good, I'll grant you that, but I think you get what I'm trying to say. In English you have exceptions just like in any other language, but there are more of them. I learned English at 22 and now have _no_ accent at 26. If you met you wouldn't in your wildest dreams think I was Russian.
posted by HoldenCaulfield at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2001

"Twain" is just my clever way of spelling "Shaw."
posted by muckster at 9:32 AM on September 9, 2001

My good friend is dyslexic and accomplishes a great deal, I think, in order to overcompensate. He works doubly hard, volunteers, reads everything--and I hate him for it. Am I jealous because I'm not dyslexic and I have done far less with my life? ON LLEH! I think people like him and Bush should sleep with the Ghotis.
posted by adrober at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2001

to go back to the question posed in the original post...

my baby sister (21 today!) has a fairly intense learning disability. (discovered in 4th grade when the teacher realized that she didn't know how to read.)

and when we were growing up, she often hesitated, stumbled, etc. when she was anxious. it used to take her forever to ask to borrow something. drove me crazy. I even think that I thought that she wasn't as smart because of it.

she's had that problem with all forms of communication. all sorts of bright thoughts are hiding out inside of her head, but until very recently, all methods of communication had serious stumbling blocks for her.

I know the other kids in school thought she was stupid - we've talked about it a little. it was difficult for her, being perceptive, but not being able to express herself, either in speaking or in writing.
posted by epersonae at 10:05 AM on September 9, 2001

While he maay make a funny goof on occasion, Bush usually doesn't sound like he has trouble saying what he knows. He sounds like he doesn't know anything about most subjects beyond a few basic facts in which he was coached.
posted by harmful at 11:24 AM on September 9, 2001

I think the main problem is when Bush is trying to use "fancy" words (or, as my English teacher in 10th grade put it, 50-cent words), and because so many are the latinate inkhorn terms, they all sound similar. Dogberry from =Much Ado About Nothing= had the delightful propensity of misusing such words, the funniest times being when he uses a word that actually contradicts what he means.

So what about Bush? I think he's trying to sound educated and intelligent in using polysyllabic terminology, though I believe he sounds more intelligent when he uses simple words and constructions. Don't gussy it up, George.

Of course, he sounds best when he reads from a script. But wouldn't we all.
posted by meep at 12:27 PM on September 9, 2001

Accusations of dyslexia aside, it has always struck me as curious that Dubya speaks with a quasi-southern accent while brother Jeb does not. After all, it was Dubya who spent many of his earlier years at northeastern private schools while Jeb has hardly spent much time away from the south.

As a matter of fact, it really is quite interesting how the Bush family time and time again gets away with playing the "Texas Card". Think back to the nasty election of '88, the one where Bush Sr. completed a sizable comeback in the polls after sporting a pair of Texas cowboy boots at his campaign rallies. Of course, the Bush family is rooted in the Northeast and Midwest and George Sr. himself really only became involved with Texas while seeking his fortune in the oil business. Now, twelve years later, we're hearing the same music from Dubya, who only just purchased his Crawford ranch during the campaign.
posted by MindRave at 2:33 PM on September 9, 2001

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