The Envelope Please

I just read this over on
CBC News.
It’s too funny not to post.

Rumsfeld world’s best language-mangler
Last Updated Tue, 02 Dec 2003 13:11:37

LONDON – U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has emerged the “clear” winner for a British award given to the worst mangler of the English language.

The Plain English Campaign has handed Rumsfeld this year’s “Foot in Mouth” prize for statements he made about the hunt for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The campaign strives to have public information delivered in straightforward English.

Rumsfeld’s mangled message?

“Reports that say something hasn’t happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

“We think we know what he means. But we don’t know if we really know,” said John Lister, spokesman for the campaign.

The campaign says Rumsfeld beat out actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose contribution was: “I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien didn’t even make the short list for his contribution last September when he said: “I know, a proof is a proof. What kind of proof is a proof? A proof is a proof and when you have a good proof it’s because it’s proven.”

Previous award winners include actress Alicia Silverstone and British chancellor Gordon Brown. Last year’s worst language-mangler was actor Richard Gere, who said: “I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe and somebody said I was a snake, I’d think, `No, actually I’m a giraffe’.”

The campaign gives out eight other prizes for bad English including worst e-mail, bad instructions or confusing regulations.

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