Monday, January 17, 2011

Closed-captioning and conspiracy theories

Sometimes, the sheer gasping stupidity of people just stops me dead in my tracks and words fail me. So if this post doesn't seem terribly clever or coherent, forgive.

Some people have been critical of the President's speech at a Memorial Service for the victims of the Tucson shooting last week. Apparently (I didn't watch the speech) there was cheering on the part of University of Arizona students, and applause at "odd times" during the speech.

Critics of the President and his administration searched feverishly for a way to make him, preferably, or them, personally responsible for the lack of decorum, and by God they found proof: they discovered that the jumbo screen inside the auditorium was flashing "applause prompts" instructing the crown as to when they should cheer and clap.

Yes. That's right. The White House ham-fistedly inserted the instruction [APPLAUSE] onto the jumbotron screen. Amidst the text of the speech which was also being displayed up there.

They turned closed-captioning into a conspiracy theory. Apparently a common aid for the disabled is not only a mystery to these pundits and their disciples, it's unrecognizable to the point of being unimaginable.

If you thought that couldn't be topped for sheer stupidity, some of them continued to cling to this theory even after being told - repeatedly - by users and creators of closed-captions that what they were seeing was the captioners reporting on the applause - not prompting it. Many of them demanded that the captioners couldn't possibly be that fast, which I suppose is a sort of backhanded compliment to them, as live-event captioners are just that fast, and bless them for it.

And if you thought that couldn't be topped for sheer stupidity, note the following comment by someone in response to the column and the resulting revelation that the "applause prompts" were actually closed-captioning:

For those who argue that the [applause] on the Jumbotron was just part of the closed captioning, I say B.S. Closed captioning is for the deaf. Those deaf people who were reading the closed captioning are DEAF, not BLIND. Don’t you think they would see people applauding, so why would they need to be told people were applauding?

NoNails on January 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Forget the fact that the closed-captioning on the jumbotron screen would've been the same cc broadcast to people watching on television.

NoNails, you win. I've seen and read a lot of stupid things about deaf people and about closed-captioning, but you, Sir or Madam, take the proverbial cake.

Makes you weep for humankind, it does.




Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...


11:45 p.m.  
Blogger Carl said...

OK, that's impressively stupid. Mind if I point a few others toward this entry?

12:23 a.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

It's not the initial error that makes the jaw drop. It is the resistance to common sense explanations. And they vote.

8:17 a.m.  
Blogger CCAC in Action said...

Care to exchange Blogs? Put us in your blogroll? Guest post on our blog?
And special invite here to join us - see, and also

all the best,
Lauren/founder of the CCAC, all volunteers

1:03 p.m.  
Blogger Mark Jackson said...

Thanks for the lnk to I spent a couple of minutes - couldn't take any more - looking at the comments and the research was useful. Heretofore I had thought that "democRAT" was the lowest form of third-grade name-calling found in American political discourse. "ObaMao" sets a new benchmark.

6:12 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Sherwood - Yes. Just yes.

Carl - Feel free!

Mike - That's my reaction too. I just can't understand it. Even the poster of the original article sorta kinda admits that he was wrong in an update. Not his commenters, though.

CCAC in Action - Done a teensy bit of research into who you are and I will definitely be in touch.

Mark - Hi! Haven't seen you for a while, missed you. I know, hon - teh stupid, it hurts.

8:55 p.m.  
Blogger Dann said...

I just want to point out that the author of the HotAir piece has acknowledged that live time closed captioning was involved and offered a modest apology for that aspect of his original piece.

As for the commenters....well I can't think of any corner of the country that is running short on "stupid" these days.


2:15 p.m.  
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