another -gate

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 8 19:28:10 UTC 2010

There was unquestionable cover-up, complete with the usual stages.
First, Apple denied the problem altogether. Then they agreed to
replace some phones for people who complained, but still denied the
problem. Then they offered the "bumper", but claimed it was a
good-will gesture, not a recognition of the problem. Now they are
admitting the design flaw, but still blame the user for the specific
positions of the hand that cause problems and claim that the "bumper"
solves the problem (it does not). Finally, the VP in charge of the
design team has resigned--will more heads roll?

AT&T, meanwhile, is getting off scot-free, following their own
connection problems with iPhones because they simply lacked the
network capacity to handle the volume of traffic generated by the
users. They even agreed to buy back some phones and partially wave
overage charges for many users. But they've been very quiet about
iPhone4 and let Apple take all the blame.


On 8/8/10, Dan Goodman <dsgood at> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dan Goodman <dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM>
> Subject:      Re: another -gate
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Laurence Horn wrote:
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>> 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
> Journal (,
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> The American Dialect Society -

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