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That Word Does not Mean…

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) earlier this week on the floor of the House in regards to the ongoing crisis of under-age immigrants at our southern border:

Madam Speaker, the World English Dictionary defines “invasion.” Among the definitions is: invading with Armed Forces; but it is: any encroachment or intrusion; the onset or advent of something harmful, as in a disease; pathologically, the spread of cancer from its point of origin into surrounding tissues.

Under Random House Dictionary, the definitions include: the entrance or advent of anything troublesome or harmful, as disease; entrance, as if to take possession or overrun–and it gives the example, the annual invasion of the resort by tourists–and also, infringement by intrusion.

When I heard this quote earlier this week, my mind went to this meme I created to illustrate a problem I constantly encounter when grading:

Dictionary

Substitute “theoretical concept” for “sociological and policy problem” and the meme sticks.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    What do you expect, Louie Gohmert is a moron!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. george says:

    I’m one of those (speaking as a physicist turned engineer) who think if you come up with a refinement of a concept, it makes more sense to create a new word than to modify the existing (dictionary) definition.

    That way people can happily use the dictionary definition for the general case, and the expert can then point out that a different word should be used in its place.

    The only downside is you end up with a lot of jargon (engineering is particularly bad for that), but the upside is you have less confusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Yea @Ron Beasley has it right. It’s generally a mistake to try to find anything rational about anything Congressman Gohmert says. After all, this is the guy who once went on an irrational rant over “Terror Babies”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. @Doug Mataconis: On the one hand, true. On the other, he isn’t the only one I have heard use this term in this context…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Nothing causes me to roll my eyes and reach for the remote control mute button more quickly than a person who uses “the dictionary defines {—} as {blah blah blah }.” That rhetorical gimmick removes seriousness from the discussion. Also, as Ron said earlier, Gohmert is maxing out his abilities by just reading from the dictionary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Janis Gore says:

    I found the phrase for stupid that I like best in JJ Salkeld’s novel, Pale Horse, Dark Horse — used in regard to a low-level criminal:

    “If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his ears off.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. ernieyeball says:

    Just the other day I saw one of Sleepytown’s dwelling challenged citizens with a cardboard sign that read…

    Head Will Explode for Cash!

    I almost gave the guy some change…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: No one said that Gohmert was the only moron in the House. His fellow Texas congressman, Blake Farenthold is probably even dumber.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. de stijl says:

    @george:

    I’m one of those (speaking as a physicist turned engineer) who think if you come up with a refinement of a concept, it makes more sense to create a new word than to modify the existing (dictionary) definition.

    This touches on one of my biggest bugaboos – the redefinition of the word “Conservative”

    Instead of meaning prudent stewardship and traditionalism, we, in America, now use “Conservative” as the term for reactionary, Right-wing radicalism. Radical and conservative are antithetical.

    In my mind, there is nothing “Conservative” about Gohmert.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hey Louie? As long as you are looking stuff up in books, look up this:

    Matthew 19:14

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. george says:

    @de stijl:

    Agree completely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Lounsbury says:

    @de stijl:

    Instead of meaning prudent stewardship and traditionalism, we, in America, now use “Conservative” as the term for reactionary, Right-wing radicalism. Radical and conservative are antithetical.

    Yes, yes you do. American ‘conservatism’ is rather anything but now. Pity reallly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. gVOR08 says:

    No one said that Gohmert was the only moron in the House. His fellow Texas congressman, Blake Farenthold is probably even dumber.

    And they’ll both easily be re-elected. How do we run a democracy with an electorate like that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    @gVOR08: Perhaps we should request that Texas succeed from the United States but let the city states of Houston and Dallas remain in the union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Grewgills says:

    @Ron Beasley:
    and Austin

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. SC_Birdflyte says:

    San Antonio would also probably demand to stay with the U.S.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Ron Beasley: I lived in suburban Dallas for a couple years in the 70s. Unless it’s changed a lot, Texas can take it with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Rick DeMent says:

    whoa … gonna have to steal this :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0