Getting To Yes

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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34 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    Yeah, Walker comes off times like a babblng 16 year old who doesn’t know the answer to a question. I’ve seen a couple clips of him looking just like the worst public speaker ever. And other times he just really avoids answering questions directly. But he really hates unions, but does he ever hate them. As you say if this his habit and he knows it yet keep getting wapped for it then it’s his fault.

    General: President Walker, should we launch this strike?
    Walker: Yeah….blah blah

    strikes launches

    Walker: wait i didn’t tell you to do that.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    That is such a Midwest thing.

    Of course, it also reminds me of Bill Lumbergh, and that alone would turn me off of him.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    I remember reading an article about the evolution of starting sentences with, “Yeah, no…” It claims that “Yeah” didn’t always mean “Yes” or something.Report

    • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

      Interestingly, “yeah” has meant yes since before “yes” was a word in English. What’s more, it’s meant yes since before there was any sort of English. It may even be where “yes” comes from:

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        I’m not going to read that, so that I can continue to believe that “yes” is just a misspelling of “yeahs.”Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        “Yeah” certainly has far more possible inflections and implications than the more clipped, definitive “yes” does. An emphatic “Yeah!” means enthusiastic assent. “Yeah”, drawn out, may either mean assent; reluctant assent with some insouciance or sass thrown back; or even an implied questioning of a request or question’s embedded assumptions, as a sarcastic prelude to answering “no” (“Yeah….that’s just not going to happen.”)

        There are sorrowful “yeah”‘s, sympathetic “yeah”‘s. You could write a whole book on the varied uses of “yeah” in rock songs. It’s apparently also a good word to use in meetings (perhaps due to the flexible word’s inherent ambiguity, it fosters the impression of consensus? If so, one can see why a politician would want to use it a lot.)

        But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. – Matthew 5:37, KJVReport

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

          True story: Paul McCartney’s father asked him why they couldn’t use more correct English and sing “she loves you, yes, yes, yes, yes”.Report

          • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Gramatically-correct “Won’t Get Fooled Again” would be a very different song.

            Also, I read this a while back and it stuck with me (it would, since Richard Butler is one of my favorite rock singers), and it mentions that Beatles song too:

            The other word that nobody sings quite like Butler is “Yeah”. In pop “yeah” is often used as a nonsense syllable, but there’s a linguistics dissertation to be written, if it hasn’t already been done, about the difference between “yeah” and “yes”, and Butler’s rendition of “yeah” would merit a chapter to itself. “Yes” accepts, “yeah” only acknowledges. “Yes” says that things are proceeding as expected, and “yeah” confirms that they are not (taking the function, sometimes, of the French “si”, yes when the expected answer is no). “Yeah” admits irony and sarcasm. This might be generational, but “yeah”, because of its informality, also seems to me to be harder to fake; “yes” is something you say, “yeah” is something you feel, and it’s easier to say something you don’t mean than it is to feel it. When the Beatles sing “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah”, the “yeah”s are part of the social self-image they shared with (and described for) their audience. When Richard Butler sings “yeah, yeah, yeah”, it is the abstract of a minor eternity of inner turmoil.

            Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a link to one of my favorite Clean tracks, which seems determined to maximize, if not satirize, the ultimate trio of sometimes-ambiguous affirmations in rock and life: “O.K.”, “Alright”, and “Oh yeah”.


          • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I was a Flower of the mountain yeah when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yeah and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yeah and then he asked me would I yeah to say yeah my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yeah and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yeah and his heart was going like mad and yeah I said yeah I will Yeah.Report

  4. Michael Drew says:

    I get it, but you need to have, “Yeah, no” (like in your headline here) in your repertoire if this is your thing. (Even if you’re from the Midwest.) Like, for the times they’re asking on camera if building a wall on the U.S.-Canada border seems like a good idea. You’ve got to be able to get that “No” out there promptly after your throat-clearing Yeah.

    Added bonus: you sound a bit more with-it verbally, as “Yeah, no” is a relatively recent innovation in slightly condescending political snark (is that redundant?).Report

  5. North says:

    Well the way he phoned it in at the debate suggests that it doesn’t matter and he’ll just be a Badger state problem instead of a national one.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to North says:

      I don’t lament the result but he kinda got hosed. He got two questions all night long and was forced to interrupt to speak any more.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        So was everyone; that was the format. Granted he didn’t get a lot of questions but why should he get more? His polling is rock bottom and he’s boring. He needed to be shaking things up and throwing elbows because his campaign is on the verge of collapsing.

        Now if he, Kasich* and Rubio go down and fizzle out I’m going to be an awfully happy camper as they were the candidates I am most uneasy about for the general.

        *Though, it bears noting, Kasich actually appears to be an actual human being and a sensible right wing politician instead of an empty vessel made to channel the will of the right wing elite or the seething right wing masses.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to North says:

          Walker actually got hosed more than anyone else. The least speaking to me, and he only got what he did because he inserted himself.

          It was a bad format all around, but Walker took the brunt of it.Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            I would probably be more indignant if I wasn’t so pleased on a partisan level to see him fizzling. If Rubio had crashed and burned too I’d probably have ended up wearing a lampshade on my head at the end of the debate.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to North says:

              These formats seem to suit Rubio, and Fiorina. Trump took his lumps, but he likes to wallow it in anyway. The format doesn’t do Carson and favors and Bush is always underwhelming at them. (when Bush does show passion, he usually creates a soundbite that can be used to mock him, i.e. ‘George kept us safe’ – though the mockery is almost always from the left)Report

              • North in reply to Kolohe says:

                Rubio seemed to hold his own though he didn’t break out. That’s better than Bush did. I agree the format definitely lent itself to Fiorina and Trump.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to North says:

                North, just this morning I felt, on a deep and mysterious level, as if transmitted via a supernatural political Power beyond knowing or description, that Rubio is not only not dead in the water, but that we’re gonna see a real Surge in his support. And soon. He’ll become a real Playa.

                And then the trance-mission ended.Report

              • North in reply to Stillwater says:

                That makes me quite unhappy Stillwater. I would very much not like to see Rubio get the nomination. He’s as mendacious as the rest of them but has a lot of marketable surface attributes and some good ability to obfuscate his flaws.Report

              • Glyph in reply to North says:

                Also, using Phil Collins’ earworm “Sussudio” as his campaign theme was a stroke of marketing genius.Report

      • If debaters on the stage are getting massively unequal time, like Walker, why shouldn't they break loose and just start filibustering?— Michael Drew (@MikeDrewWhat) September 17, 2015


  6. Mike Schilling says:

    Garrison Keillor had a sketch about two Minnesotans arguing, where each one always began with “Yeah, but…”. If they’d been having a formal debate, it would have consisted entirely of yeahbuttal.Report