No more Mr. Dumbass for you
HE TRANSITIONAL Press Office for President-Elect Barack Obama has announced that it will be holding "mandatory" shorthand classes for the members of the White House press corps, which has had an easy time of note taking during eight years of President Bush's sentence-free press conferences.
Said Mariane Lamont, acting head of President-Elect Obama's Press Office, "These rusty reporters have had almost nothing to write down for the last eight years but 'Um' and 'Heh-heh.' The rest of the time President Bush shuffled his feet or grimaced pathetically while waiting for words to find him. Now reporters will have to deal with complete, grammatically complex sentences that may be strung together for minutes at a time. We're quite sure their current note-taking skills are simply not up to the task."
The first two classes will include the basics, such as shorthand for articles, prepositions, and conjunctions, but will quickly move on to words containing more than three syllables. Reporters will also learn the shorthand for various phrases not heard in eight years, such as "I'd like to elaborate on that point," and "I'm not sure I quite agree with the logic of your assertion."
More advanced classes will cover shorthand for the names of countries, world leaders, and treaties, as well as historical references and quotes from literature. Asked Ms. Lamont, "When was the last time you heard the words of a great writer out of the lips of our president? And by 'great writer' I don't mean Garth Brooks."
As an added bonus, the White House press corps will be given tips on how to flip notebook pages quickly and how to keep complicated phrases in short-term memory while locating a fresh pen. Ms. Lamont said that reporters would be allowed to make use of portable tape recorders "while they get up to speed," but added, "generally speaking, recorders are for wimps."
© 2008 Kate Heidel