Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Some People Say... (Part Two)

Yesterday, I began a post on use of the phrase "some people say". It's a simple three word expression that causes me some considerable consternation in its frequent misuse and abuse.  In fact, I am so consternated* by this that I wrote an entire post just on the word "some". 

*Is consternated a word? Well, it is now. 

So after pontificating on the question of how much is "some", today I'm going to examine the next part of "some people say". Who are, pray tell, these "people"? 

As I noted yesterday, "some people say" is linked to a view separate from a larger perspective.  Who makes up the "people" part of "some people say" is very pertinent. 

Let's go back to yesterday's example. A population of 5 million has to vote on a referendum that puppies are cute. Now it seems like a slam dunk because, damn it, puppies are cute. But 20% of the population are cat people and don't like this view. Another 100 people, approximately .002% of the population, get all squishy over ducklings. So the people of "some people say" have a stated and obvious agenda for opposing the puppies are cute vote.  

But what if we introduce another group, about 10% of the total population or 500,000, that is also opposed to this ever so important vote on the topic of puppies are cute. This movement is actually pro-puppy but think that officially voting that puppies are cute is unnecessarily divisive. Let's call them Love All Animals (LAA). 

In addition another fringe group has popped up. They're pro-hamster and at 50 people, number even less than the duck people. So now our total of the 5 million population that are definitely in the puppies are cute camp comes to 3,499,850. Still a fairly solid majority in favor of cute puppies. 

But don't forget Pox Gnus, the "news" channel that is not pro-puppy in the least. Now they have a breaking development even a pro-puppy group is among those "some people" who say this puppies are cute thing is wrong. So once more a Pox Gnus talking head gets a bunch of guests on to discuss this all important issue that "some people say" is going to tear us apart. Among the guests are spokespersons for cats, ducks and dogs plus we add spokespersons for hamsters and the LAA. Remember yesterday when a similar program had the dog person, speaking on behalf of the majority of the population, out numbered 3 to 1. Today that ratio is 5 to 1. And that ratio influences the opinions of people watching. What "some people say" sways thoughts along a spectrum of "now I'm not sure how I feel about cute puppies" to "cute puppies have too much power and must be stopped". Let's imagine that 1 million people fall somewhere along that spectrum. Now the number in favor of voting for "puppies are cute" is now 2,499,850, just a hair south of 50%. The pro-puppies side went from 80% support to 50% based on what "some people say" thanks to Pox Gnus presenting the argument as a 5 to 1 battle.  

And consider that 2 parties, the duck people and the hamster people, represent a very small constituency that has no influence on the debate over if puppies are cute. But Pox Gnus has an axe to grind against cute puppies (hopefully, not literally) and has a forum to give the duck/hamster groups a voice equal to the LAA and the cat group to speak out against the cute puppies group. 

The point here is that the people in "some people say" have vested interests to promote. Sales of baby ducks and hamsters start to increase. Is it enough to offset the power of cute puppies? Maybe not but who cares? Proponents of ducks and hamsters have benefited. And Pox Gnus has benefited as a broker of power and influence, taking what "some people" have said and shifted the majority to an almost even split with a slight edge for those who oppose puppies are cute. 

And let's not forget those that interject themselves with no agenda other than to cause agitation. Frequently these types manifest themselves as internet trolls, hot heads who call in to talk radio shows and the like. Their views and opinions may be so off the mark as to be completely off the topic. But if they get quoted enough, they too become part of "some people say".  

So after looking at how much is "some" and who are the "people", what exactly do they "say"? More on that tomorrow.

Until then, be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Too cute! Too cute!! Too CUTE!!! TOO CUTE!!!!

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