Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Not Dion's English That Was The Problem

I'm not a big fan of the Liberal party, but this video bothers me quite a bit.



Listen to the question being asked at 1:20 in to the video. Of course Dion is confused. The interviewer doesn't understand how to speak English.

"If you were Prime Minister now, what would you have done about the economy?"

That doesn't make any sense at all. The interviewer obviously doesn't understand the English language and Dion does. It's unclear what the question means.

There are two legitimate ways to ask that question.

You can ask the question in the present tense, using "were" in the subjunctive (i.e. I wish I were, if I were ... etc.):
"If you were Prime Minister right now, what would you do?"

Or you can use the past tense:
"If you had been Prime Minister for the last two years, how would you have handled this crisis?"

The question as it stands, as it was asked, makes no sense. It's as if the the interviewer had asked, "If I gave you a sandwich made of baby seal meat right now, would you have eaten it two years ago?"

Of course Dion's confused. I get confused when people babble at me in broken English too.

It's pointless to make fun of Dion. You should spend your time mocking the illiteracy of CTV's interviewer and the obvious and intentional cruelty of airing this nonsense.

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10 comments:

Toby said...

Thank god someone gets it

James Bowie said...

I am of the same opinion. The question was nonsense.

Socially Active said...

Just a reminder of the destruction started by Harper. Please read the link.

http://www.taxpayer.com/main/news.php?news_id=2430

Harper's Conservatives don't and won't accept government's necessary role of preparing for our future.

Harper followed Bush's example and first deregulated credit. June 2006, than again in November 2006 CMHC relaxed its standards. Prior to Harper, government insured mortgage were a prudent maximum of 25 years and with a minimum down payment of 5%. The introduction of dangerous zero down 40yr mortgages fueled already out of control housing prices. Canada is not suffering to the extend the US people are suffering because the Liberals know there is piper to pay and did not follow Bush deregulating credit. Only after Canada felt the growing credit crises did Harper reverse the dangerous zero down 40yr mortgages effective Oct 15 2008 which he earlier introduced in 2006.


Harper is clueless about the world around him and is in personal denial.

Anonymous said...

Read the text. Mr. Murphy clarified after the first round.

If you were PM right now....and had been for the past 2 years.

How is that confusing????

JCL

If you were Prime Minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper has not done?

Stephane Dion: If I would have been the Prime Minister two and a half years ago?

Steve Murphy: If you were the Prime Minister right now.

Stephane Dion: Right now.

Steve Murphy: And had been for the past two years.

Greg said...

The transcript that "Anonymous" gave is simply not accurate.

Dion is clearly trying to clear up this hopeless abuse of the English language.

As Dion is speaking, saying "Right now. If I am elected this Tuesday", the interviewer is adding, "and had been for the past two years."

Obviously Dion could not have heard this while he was speaking and trying to decipher the interviewer's English.

Anonymous said...

No, he clearly finishes his "and had been for the past 2 years" as Dion is saying "right now" (repeating what Murphy said).

Yes there was some overlap to that part of the exchange (Dion talks over top of Murphy trying to finish his sentence), but after Dion say "right now" he goes on to ask "if I'm elected next Tuesday, this Tuesday, is that what you are suggesting".

How is "right now" this, or next, Tuesday?

After 3 or 4 aborted attempts, his handler comes out and explains it to him....

Greg said...

So, Anonymous, what's your theory here?

My theory is that, grammatically speaking, the interviewer asked an incoherent question and it took Dion several guesses - in his second language - to figure out whether the desired hypothetical was present tense or past. My theory is that, while doing some high-speed translation in his head, he missed the end of a sentence. There is no sign here that he is dodging a question. He's just trying to honestly figure out what the question is.

Your theory is ... that Dion is an idiot? That because he got confused about a confusing question he is therefore too stupid to be the Prime Minister? Because he doesn't have a knee-jerk response and wants clarity in communication he is unfit to lead? That his English isn't great?

Where are you going with this, exactly?

Anonymous said...

Yes Mr. Murphy did clarify, and Dion further confused himself BUT its very clear Dion is simply trying to be sure he has the question right before he makes his statement (as any smart politician would do), and not trying to dodge or avoid the question because he "has no plan", as the irresponsible media is making this out to be. The fact that these out-takes were released is disgraceful and irresponsible in itself, and brings to mind behaviour displayed by such wonderful (sarcasm) media giants in the south *cough* fox *cough* news *cough* *cough*. I sense some serious PC puppets pushed to get this released.

I find socially active's post to be much more news worthy than Dion's inadvertant brain hiccup. Why isn't that running across the headlines?

Anonymous said...

Mike Duffy was practically orgasmic over the video last night on his show. You could tell he wanted this to damage the Liberals SO badly. Later in the show he had on three talk radio guys (all Conservatives apparently) and they were bashing Dion, saying that this reflected on his lack of integrity. Ugh. I'm convinced that Steve Murphy placed a call to his good friend Mike Duffy about the interview. Whenever Duffy is on Murphy's news hour they're very chummy.

Ricky Barnes said...

As I said on my blog, i don't care for what CTV did here.

It is wrong and unethical. That said, it has turned into a bonus as these things sometimes do. Dion was attacked by the Medeia and the Tories jumped on it. Now the Tories look even meaner than they may be.

Im looking forward to Tuesday evening and a new coalition forming in the days after that!