The Department of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO) has been toiling in near-obscurity for long years in an effort to point out the forest for the trees. In today’s modern society, oral and written languages are too often used as tools for obfuscation rather than as a means for the clarity in communication for which they were designed. Indeed, new terms are constantly being invented for the sole purpose of muddying the waters of human communication, a tendency that inspired the creation of The Department. Here at DOPOTO our mission is to decipher these confounding codes and, literally, point out the obvious. While that might seem like a simple task, think of the legions of spin doctors (liars), press agents (liars) and pubic relations personnel (liars) employed by the wealthy and powerful to mask their real intentions and their actual deeds by calling them something else.
Quite often their efforts result in the popularization of made-up words or phrases that either have no meaning at all but sound good, or contain built-in contradictions that render them open to any interpretation, thus allowing liars to deny they lied. For example, how many “wars of liberation” can there possibly be? If you listen to those who start wars, that would be all of them, even though the truth is that most of them are intended only to liberate some valuable assets and territory from their rightful owners. In business, what is a “write-down” but flushing a whole lot of money down the toilet due to incompetence? “Outsourcing” is a genteel phrase for selling the jobs of the people who made the corporation fabulously wealthy to nations who pay their workers in soybeans. And in military campaigns, “government contractors” is a fancy term for highly paid mercenaries with no national loyalties and bound by no law or code of ethical conduct, aka: “The-not-so-few, the-not-so-proud.”
But by sheer tenacity The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious has made steady inroads in helping people cast off their blinders and see the Emperor’s new clothes. When governors explain they are quitting their jobs because they are “not quitters” or “for family reasons,” most people now realize what a bunch of baloney they are being handed and that either ambition, greed, criminal indictments or extramarital sex are the reasons why these people broke their oaths of office. Of course not all people refuse to drink the Kool Aid, but enough so that we are being fooled less and less by the rich, the powerful and the devious. Indeed, many people prominent and otherwise have been jumping on the DOPOTO bandwagon, pointing out the 800 pound gorilla wherever he rears his ugly head. And so DOPOTO is proud to announce its Obvious Hall Of Fame. And The Golden Duuuh! goes to:
Derek Jeter, baseball player: “If we play well we can beat anyone, if we play poorly anyone can beat us.” Can’t be any more obvious than that, no?
Anonymous Wildlife Official: “All fish need water.” Argue with that logic!
Ayatollah “Shotgun Dick” Cheney, former Supreme Leader of America: “… there was never any evidence to prove that.” – referring to Iraq having possession of weapons of mass destruction or having been involved in any way with the 9/11 attacks. Not exactly a timely admission, coming as it did 7 years after he sent in the Marines to crush their armies, blow up a whole lot of expensive stuff and hang their leader by the neck until dead, but a step in the right direction for America’s only dictator ever. DOPOTO’s decision to include him in the Obvious Hall of Fame is meant as an incentive for old Dick to open up a little more, maybe let us know where the rest of the bodies are buried.
Lisa Randall, Harvard Physicist and architect of the Large Hadron Collider: “The fact is, it’s likely to take a while to get the results we want.” Ms. Randall wins in the Understatement Bordering on Honesty Category for her explanation of the repeated failure of the 9 billion dollar, largest ever, 15-years-in-the-making particle collider to collide anything together except the plans of physicists everywhere to study dark matter. Like Shotgun Dick’s inclusion in the hall, her induction is meant as a gentle prod to admit the complete truth, that this thing was an albatross from the get-go and will never provide any scientific data to anyone other than psychiatrists studying stubborn fools who keep doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Suzanne Brown, high school student: “It’s so popular that Google has become a verb. Why would anybody use a different one?” – describing the unlikelihood of Microsoft and Yahoo’s johnny-come-lately search engine BING of unseating Google as the internet’s most successful and popular web site. If you don’t believe her, just Google the results. From the mouths of babes…
George W. Bush, former Assistant President of America: “You teach a child to read, and he or she will pass a literacy test.” Well… yeah? Not exactly what we had in mind, but an exhaustive study by researchers here at DOPOTO found that to be Bush The Younger’s only recorded instance of having uttered a viable complete sentence, such as it was. It was only his status as former Assistant President that prevented us from awarding his Golden Duuuh! in a special Head Scratching Obvious Statement Category, or handing him our consolation prize, The Silver Whaaat?!?
Mamoud Abbas, Palestinian President: “We have made mistakes.” This admission represents another first from the leader of a quasi-nation that has spent most of its existence trying to gain recognition by hurling stones and rockets at Israel and sending suicide bombers in lieu of ambassadors, then claiming to be under orders from God. Now if any Israeli leader wants to step up to the plate and admit that they have in turn been pretty rotten to what amounts to a captive population in Palestine, maybe they too can be inducted into the Obvious Hall Of Fame. DOPOTO is not holding its breath.
Yogi Berra, former baseball player, Lifetime Achievement Award: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” An often overlooked American original truth teller, Mr. Berra is famous for his “Yogiisms” (gems like “it gets late early around here” and “if you see a fork in the road, take it”), some of America’s most beloved examples of convoluted word play, many of which would also qualify for a DOPOTO award in The Head Scratching Obvious Statement Category. Yogi Berra, in his own entertaining way, has been calling them like he sees them for his 65 years in the public spotlight. Perhaps his best insight was: “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be,” while his most thought provoking truth just might be: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” For the same candor and dedication that earned him a first ballot berth in the Baseball Hall of Fame and a place in America’s heart, DOPOTO proudly salutes Yogi Berra for his continuing colorful quest for simple truth with the Diamond Doozy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a one good man’s lifelong dedication to pointing out the obvious.
DOPOTO: “What is, is.” What, we can’t be in our own Hall of Fame? We invented this stuff!
This has been a report on The Obvious Hall Of Fame from The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious. Thank you, thank you very much.