Saturday, March 17, 2007

Great Minds Think Alike

The synchronicity is delightful here. Just about the time I was drafting the last post, on the well-known evils of the passive voice, Kyrie O'Connor was on WWDTM discussing the "passive exonerative"!

I haven't heard it yet - I was at a rehearsal this morning during the broadcast, and my husband told me about it. I'll have to download today's podcast. But what a WONDERFUL term for it! I Googled the phrase and find it's used quite a lot and has turned up on DailyKos and in William Safire columns. The latest relevant use, actually about Awful Alberto, is a very similar post last Wednesday in Jeff Weintraub's blog, So It Goes. It's also called the "past exonerative" and "past passive exonerative."

The So It Goes post ends with a summary that is better than I could have written:
Politicians who use it think they're dousing a fire. They should all remember the teachings of their composition teachers. Because when the rest of us hear "mistakes were made," we know the fire has only begun to burn.


  1. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Passingive the buckive to some nether world and hoping that will be the end of it, as all too often it is. But I do like the reminder that people's curiosity can be piqued by the act "without a culpable actor." One can have some fun with what Butt Boy 'Berto means by "mistakes." Please elaborate, AG.

    I must say that my all time favorite dodge is the one about people or things "falling between the cracks," which is supposed to mean that we are doing all we can.

  2. Unless you assume that it means we are cracking up.

  3. Anonymous7:11 AM

    Ah, Hedra, you beat me. I was just going to bring that bit by Kyrie up. I think it is just a matter of time before the Bush white house goes up in flames.


  4. Anonymous5:49 PM

    Please, pass the marshmellows.

  5. Anonymous6:14 PM


    We've got some mellow marshes down here on the edge of the Green Swamp.

    Anonymous David

  6. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Hey, don't disturb my dyslexic moments.