I really admired Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's recent tap dance routine on Capitol Hill. You know the one where he flat out denied that the government collected the personal data of American citizens, at least not wittingly. His cohort over at the NSA, General Keith Alexander, said we didn't even have the surveillance capability to do such a thing. Later Clapper fessed up and blamed the whole thing on semantics.
You see it is apparently all in the definitions. Invigorated by their sophistry and prevarication I thought I would try it out on my wife tonight.
She called about seven, a bit tired from a long day at work. "Honey, did you eat the rest of the pizza?"
"No," I responded, squelching an anchovy burp. "Dearest."
She got home about a half hour later, tired and really wanting to finish off the pie. Of course, she came home to an empty cardboard box, the pizza was in fact long gone, the contents resting somewhat unsettled in my stomach.
"I thought that you said you saved me a slice. You said that you didn't eat it."
"Define eat," I postured, taking a page from the good director. "It is really a matter of semantics, honey. When you say eat, I am thinking fine silver and linen, washing a chateaubriand down with a bit of pouilly fuissé. This was nothing like that, nothing more than a crude, primitive attempt at basic nourishment. Furthermore, pizza to me is something you get on a street corner in New York and fold over so that the oil and cheese doesn't run out. Whatever this was, it was assuredly not pizza." "And whatever I ate, it wasn't really conscious. I just shoveled it in, you might even say, unwittingly."
I would be lying to you if I said that my act went over real well. Think it might be sleeping on the couch and Swanson's tv dinners for me for a couple days.
Some people just don't get nuance.