Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 12 19:07:48 UTC 2010

Even if "net-net" here means "and these are the real numbers!"  it is a
broadened meaning of "net-net."  Broadened beyond anything one who is not a
member of the self-appointed elite could possibly figure out.  Broadened, in
fact, beyond any obvious relationship to the literal meaning of "net-net."

As usual, I really don't care what grotesqueries such speakers emit during
their covens, but their idea that the rest of us should know what the hell
they're talking about is beyond me.  And I think they know it.

To yours truly, the average voter with three degrees and
publications, "net-net" as used on CNN could have meant almost anything,
including "according to our special system of non-accountable bookkeeping
that you can't look at." Which is why Blitzer appropriately asked Fiorina
WTH she was trying to say.  He should do it more often.


On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: net-net
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  [Comments below]
> On 10/12/2010 10:15 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > I didn't mean to imply that she was trying to obscure the facts, merely
> that
> > her familiarity with the idiom "net-net" had impaired her ability to
> speak
> > lucidly to the average voter - and even to the average news anchor.
> I am not convinced of her ability to speak lucidly even when she's not
> using supposed jargon.
> Her record at HP was only one of the knocks against her from the
> opposition. Her ability to deliver a consistent, lucid message was
> another. (And there are quite a few more, but I am not going into
> politics here.)
> On 10/12/2010 10:12 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> > Here is a definition from a 1997 book, "Word smart for business:
> cultivating
> > a six-figure vocabulary":
> >
> > The absolute bottom line, or end result. It's even more bottom line than
> > just net.
> This makes sense to me only in the context of an attempt to
> obfuscate--it's a more bottom line than a regular bottom line. Sounds
> like 110% BS to me. This is not a complaint against Dan, but rather
> against the authors of the book. They desire to create a social club
> where everyone speaks the same obfuscatory language.
> On 10/12/2010 10:39 AM, Baker, John wrote:
> >          It sounds more like a $1.98 vocabulary to me.  From this
> > example, "Word smart for business" apparently endorses the practice of
> > using high-falutin terms that the speaker doesn't understand and that
> > have no concrete meaning in context.
> This sounds exactly right.
> On 10/12/2010 11:30 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> > Business people know what she means by her four-word sentence.
> See "club" above. And "business people" are not her audience. The
> problem here is that either she is not interested in code-switching for
> different audiences or she's incapable. It's hard to tell even from the
> fact that she huffed when she had to explain it.
> On a different note, it is quite common for "experts" to "forget" to
> explain basic terminology to "novices". This is pretty standard cog-sci
> stuff. For example, it is common to find confusing language on
> worksheets passed out by less experienced college instructors who may
> well be brilliant in their fields. Depending how much time they spent
> out in the "real world", the ratio of jargon in their speech may be
> quite high. This does not mean that they are necessarily aware of the
> problem.
>     VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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