another -gate

Steve Kl. stevekl at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 8 16:06:30 UTC 2010

If you read television show recaps, practically every reality show has a *
-gate*. This season's *Top Chef* has "peagate" about some missing pea puree.
A few seasons back, there was clippergate. And so forth.

On Sun, Aug 8, 2010 at 9:18 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: another -gate
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> 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!
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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