Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Vernacular alert, OWS edition

Here's Erik Erikson, fuming that the GOP's apparent nominee only pretends to be insane but isn't really:
...once he loses, Republican establishment types will blame conservatives for not doing enough for Mitt Romney, never mind that Mitt Romney has never been able to sell himself to more than 25% of the GOP voters. It’s not his fault though, it is the 75%’s fault.
Never mind Erikson's argument that Romney will lose the election because he's not a real conservative. I'm not convinced, but from his mouth to God's ears. What interests me is his turn of numerical phrase, "the 75%'s..."

We have a new way of framing subsections of the national community: "the XX%." The 99%, the 1%...pithy. And heartwarming. We all have multiple percentile siblings. College grads: the 32% (more or less).  The uninsured: the 17%. American children living in poverty: the 22%.  Evangelicals: the 26%. Dog owners: the 37%. Nonvoters: the 45%.  Residents of millionaire households: the 7%.  People with IQs under 100: the 49.99999%. Above-average Lake Wobegon children: The 99.9999%.  

Maybe a social network can take this up. Invite members to tick off percentile groups in which they claim membership. Virtual numeric communities!  Who says that social cohesion is slipping away?

1 comment:

  1. Good catch. I'm usually glad when political groups use some math because it makes the arguments more tangible. But so often the number is separated from its context. Like the 47% who pay no federal income tax... they leave it hanging there--you're supposed to fill in that they're free-loaders. You're not supposed to drill down to find out that 44% of them are seniors, or the situation of many of the rest. New rule - no percentages without an explanation for why it matters or how it got that way.

    I'm also not convinced that 75% of Republicans across the country are Tea Party. The primaries can't come fast enough for me.