another -gate

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Sun Aug 8 19:10:20 UTC 2010

Laurence Horn 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
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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!
As I understand it, Apple spent some time and energy saying there wasn't
really a problem.

Dan Goodman
"I have always depended on the kindness of stranglers."
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Expire
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