Friday, November 6, 2009

To Hansardize = To Daily Show

I got Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages for Christmas, because people know I'm a word geek. It's part memoir of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary and part lists of cool words he found, most of which I didn't know and many of which were indeed cool, but one in particular seems particularly apt. It seems a man named Thomas Hansard published the text of debates in both Houses of Parliament in the second half of the 19th century. People used to try to embarrass members of parliament by using Hansard's transcripts to point out to them that they had said just the opposite thing before, which is what the Daily Show does routinely. So the modern version of to Hansardize would be to Daily Show a politician.

Don't politicians realize that cameras are on and that nothing is ever lost? The Daily Show must have racks of TiVos recording all the time. Imagine how many terabytes of video they must have on their hard drives. I'd like to see their filing system for it, so they can go find a video of Ted Stevens shouting, "NO!" whenever they want it.

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