Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ted vs. the headlines

Not the news stories, the actual headlines.

Specifically, a headline in the metro section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, from Thursday, December 16, 2010:

Dayton, GOP leaders begin with goodwill
The two sides said they seek common ground amid an ideological gulf.

The story itself, I assume, is about our new governor (finally!) beginning to work with the GOP in the state senate and house. But I didn't read the actual story, because I stopped at that sub-headline. Take a moment to parse its meaning.

According to our good friends at Merriam-Webster, a "gulf" is either a "part of an ocean or sea" or "a deep chasm." Either meaning is fairly suitable to describe an ideological split between two parties. But it would be literally impossible to find "common ground" in either of these natural features!

I suppose one could, theoretically, find an island in a gulf, as in the Gulf of Mexico. But such an island would be, by definition, very small and not terribly amenable to the governing of a state. Or, alternately, you could find common ground at the very bottom of an abyss, but getting there would either take very long or be extremely painful and probably fatal.

Come to think of it, maybe that metaphor isn't so bad after all.

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