Today the Angry Men made a tragic discovery. Apparently, according to the infallible Intarweb, we rate only a modest “High School” reading level overall. Sad, really, since we pride ourselves on being educated beyond all need or reason. (Or perhaps that’s just some of us projecting onto the others. Well, and by some, I mean me…)

However, it did get us to thinking: What, in its infinite wisdom, would this Dark Oracle powered by the unholy forces of Redmond think of various sites around the all-knowing Blogosphere. So, we gave it a try—plugging everything into http://www.criticsrant.com/bb/reading_level.aspx and viola, the results were, ah, somewhat surprising.

Let’s start with the mainstream of American political thought:

But you know, this thing is really focused on Blogs, so maybe it’s just that these staid, stodgy, government sites and wishy-washy party sites aren’t an ideal test. Let’s try some honest-to-goodness blogs. Hmm, let me pick out an excellent example of clear reasoning from each political side:

Uh huh.

Well, maybe they’re just outliers. Let’s take three sites so extreme, so bizarre, so brain damaged that they just have to show their true colors:

Uh oh! Well, surely that was just bad luck. Let’s try two more crazy sites, one from either side of the political spectrum:

Yipes! This is really troubling.

Okay, now for the acid test, let’s use one of the most hillarious but least readable sites on the whole Intraweb:

  • TimeCube!!! [http://www.timecube.com]: High School (!?! – apparently it’s only at the college level that you get educated stupid!)

So, now in fear and trembling we wonder whether the whole world has turned upside down.

Fear not, noble reader, and take heart. All is not wrong with the world, for at least two sites on the Great Web of Life return the right results:

  • /. rates a High School level, which is being generous, but…
  • Chick Publications rates the Elementary result it so richly deserves…

Left as an exercise for the reader: find even more amusing examples and post in the Comments section.

(And, as always, Discuss amongst yourselves.)

When the Wall Street journal editorials have to resort to circumlocutions such as “starts with n and rhymes with ‘jigger'” in order to make reference to a language token something is terribly wrong. We have arrived at a point where language token referents are indistinguishable from the token’s connotation. I personally don’t like the word and think that the English language would be better without it, but it still is in use, primarily by the black community. And as long as its usage is prevalent, scholars and pundits should have the ability to refer to the word, with implicit Quine corners, as a referent without outrage and abuse heaped upon them (assuming the authors are Caucasian), if only in rants such as this. That this is true can been seen in this rant’s title — where WordPress filters on the whole word.

Richard Pryor, in one commentary reflected on a trip he made to Africa. “Hey Rich, look around. Do you see any niggers? (to himself). And I realized that there weren’t any. Only people. And that ‘nigger’ was a description of our own wretchedness. From that day forward I never used the work in my act.”(comment)

Language and thought are intertwined. Without the internal dialog of language, thoughts are meaningless, and the extent and variety of thoughts are controlled by the limitations imposed by language. It is said that Chinese doctors have 27 descriptions of the human pulse—a block of wood floating on the water, as an example,and that the fine gradations of the pulse assists in the diagnosis of disease, whereas a pulse to the Western diagnostician is basically strong, weak or nonexistent. The Western diagnostic thought process is limited by the language.

[Here I have to thank Angryman Mildlypiqued for pointing out that times have changed. The last time I used this argument, that was the case. Apparently, Western Doctors have caught up with the Chinese.]

In the Indonesian language, the simplicity of the structure precludes many thoughts necessary for understanding of Western technology. The hyphenated word ‘pre-position’, meaning to place an object in a certain location, requires a full paragraph in Bahasa Indonesia. Contrariwise, the second person Western word “you” expands into a complex plethora of familial and personal relationships in Indonesian.

If, as Richard Pryor suggests, the word portrays the condition of the black population’s wretchedness, then perhaps the elimination of its use will preclude the mental image of that wretchedness, elevating the black consciousness above that state. The rap and gansta musicians (used with some reserve) would do well to emulate Mr. Pryor. And the Jacksons and Sharptons would do even better not castigating analysts who attempt to point this out.

A recent news story has me really angry, and I’ll tell you why; for once, because of this story, I find myself surprisingly allied with President Bush. Normally when the media takes a swing at good old Dubya, I agree with their assessment. This time, however, I can find no fault with our President, in fact I support him whole heartedly. In what has been described as “Bush’s holy gaffe”, Bush called Dr. Ratzinger “sir”. The international press has been covering the story with a good deal of incredulity, as if it is amazing that the President would refer to the head of the Roman Catholic Church as anything but the honorifics the Vatican requests.

Quite frankly, I find myself applauding Bush if his use of “sir” was intentional. The honorifics the Vatican suggests are “His Holiness” or “Holy Father”, which bear an undeniable religious connotation. Bush, as someone who is not a member of the Roman Catholic Church and who is a member of another Church, has a duty not to refer to Dr. Ratzinger using these honorifics. The terms requested by the Vatican, if used, would indicate that the user believes that Dr. Ratzinger has some sort of mandate or special position from God, something that those of us who are not members of the Roman Catholic Church do not believe. To speak something one doesn’t believe in a religious context is wrong, plain and simple.

While I respect the social and philanthropic work which the Roman Catholic Church has accomplished and applaud Dr. Ratzinger’s role as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church’s recent efforts, I must also applaud President Bush for his surprising commitment to his beliefs and his refusal to speak words that he would believe are false in a religious context. For once, I must stand up and ask the world’s press to please give President Bush a break.

-Angry Midwesterner