Fred Upton, Linguist

by Jonathan Chait | February 8, 2011

Apparently Fred Upton's method of communicating is an even richer subject than I had thought. Two sentences of Upton's were so jargon-laden that they inspired a long meditation by David Roth:

 The topic is what Stephanie K. describes as "watered down 'net neutrality' regulations, including concessions to the cable and wireless industry and companies such as Comcast and AT&T," and which Michigan congressman Fred Upton describes as "nothing less than an assault on the internet." Upton, get on the mic and tell the people what it is:
"We have all grown sick and tired of the Chicago-style politics to ram through job-killing measures at any cost, regardless of the consequences or damage to our economy. Rather than put a gun to the head of our largest economic engines, now is the time for the FCC to cease and desist."
Even assuming, as we ought, that Upton is trying to show that he hates all kinds of regulations -- even the kind that major corporations essentially craft and purchase, which are generally the most popular kind with Congress -- can you figure out what he's trying to say? It's "Do not regulate," I'm pretty sure, but he loses that simple message amid all the messaging catch-words. The result is like the spoken equivalent of an overly SEO-ed piece of web prose -- language that frustrates just about every expectation we have of language. Let's enhance:
"We have all grown sick and tired of the Chicago-style politics to ram through job-killing measures at any cost, regardless of the consequences or damage to our economy. Rather than put a gun to the head of our largest economic engines, now is the time for the FCC to cease and desist."
There is only one thing to do with someone so willing to put message fidelity ahead of the most basic coherence. You give that motherfucker a chairmanship. I'll bet the National Association of Manufacturers congratulates him. A radical splinter faction of the MLA will doubtless be next.

Upton's chairmanship is going to be fun.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/83047/fred-upton-linguist