another -gate

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Aug 8 13:18:38 UTC 2010

At 2:39 AM -0400 8/8/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>  The scandal generating suffix appears to have left the political arena
>a long time ago and is now attached to any tree falling in a forest,
>irrespectively of whether it makes a sound. Here's the latest: antennagate.
>Apple exec leaves in wake of 'antennagate'
>If you've been paying attention, you know that the newly minted iPhone 4
>has had a spate of problems with reception and dropped calls that have
>been linked to an innovative antenna design that backfired. This is the
>first time I've seen it referred to as "antennagate", but, I suspect,
>not the last.
What I find particularly unfortunate, although perhaps inevitable, is
not so much the broadening of "-gate" to non-political scandals +
cover-ups.  That boat has long since sailed.  But I've always taken
the "-gate"s to involve a cover-up, typically illustrating the lesson
we supposedly learned with Watergate (and Contragate, and Pearly-gate
[one of my personal faves], and Underwater-gate, and Nannygate and
Travelgate, and Koreagate...), that it's not the original offense
that brings you down, it's the cover-up.  But no such scandal or
cover-up seems to be involved here, just an error and the
consequences:  Mr. Papermaster designed an antenna that didn't work,
he was fired.  So if Derek Jeter boots a ground ball leading to a
Yankee loss, will the back page blare out "JETERGATE"?  SOTA alert!


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