Kent Bush: Chasing rabbits and controversies
As someone who writes a lot, it may come as no surprise to readers that I love words. I love to know the origins of common phrases and words that aren't obvious.
This is not something new to me. I took four years of Latin in high school even though I was planning on being an engineer.
I have noticed a lot of people using the word "debunked" recently. Facts about the bailout get debunked. Beliefs about the health care proposal are debunked.
I caught myself chasing a mental rabbit and wondering why no one ever "bunked" anything. They debunk everything.
So I chased that rabbit as far as it would go. Obviously, debunk implies that you are taking away the bunk. Bunk in this usage means ludicrously false statements.
But where did that meaning of "bunk" come from? That's an interesting story.
Felix Walker was a representative in Congress in 1820 when Missouri was being considered for inclusion as a state. He represented Buncombe County, North Carolina and he wanted to make sure his constituents' voices were heard.
He gave a long and roiling speech called "A speech from Buncombe."
Not surprisingly, his colleagues weren't swayed or impressed by his words of wisdom. He became the butt of jokes when a representative's speech was overblown they often were chided for "speaking to Buncombe." Over the course of several recordings of the word, it often was misspelled Bunkum. Then, like all good slang words, it was shortened.
So any speech that is nonsensical or of little worth is now called bunk. To overcome those arguments, you debunk them. So now you know.
Speaking of bunk
The American Music Awards ceremony was another point in my case that the entire entertainment industry is one big scripted show designed to keep the interest of the overstimulated masses.
There was a sizeable controversy leading up to the awards show with Out magazine editors claiming that Adam Lambert -- one of American Idol's best known runner-ups -- had handlers who didn't want him to appear to be "too gay" on the magazine's cover.
Is there a degree of gayness beyond the cover of Out magazine? I thought that was close to the edge of the spectrum.
Much like the incredible coincidence of Kanye West being booked on Jay Leno's new prime time show the day after his famous faux pas at the MTV Video Awards, Lambert just happened to be booked to perform Sunday night after the magazine controversy put him back in the spotlight.
And he did perform. He sang horribly but laid an open-mouthed kiss on another man very well. I guess he showed his "handlers" how gay he could be.
This is more proof that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Controversy sells records and -- amazingly enough -- Lambert's first album went on sale this week.
What a coincidence!
There better be a lot of swampland in Arizona if everyone who buys the sincerity of that act are in the market. Speaking of Arizona, now we have a way to connect John McCain to Adam Lambert if you are playing "Six Degrees of Separation".
McCain's daughter, the 25-year-old Meghan McCain who writes for The Daily Beast Web site and spends a lot of free time on Twitter, is a very tolerant and soft-edged conservative voice -- a voice that isn't always well received within the party to which she belongs.
She also recently made headlines with a self-portrait she posted online that showed an Andy Warhol book she was reading, as well as her ample cleavage. It was racy, but certainly not anything you wouldn't find on the Facebook page of countless 25-year-olds.
Critics from across the globe attacked her for her "loose morals" and tried to use the photo to discredit her opinions.
It isn't her fault her body developed more successfully than her dad's presidential campaign.
Even though it was a Twitter posting that burned her the first time, that didn't stop her from tweeting her two cents about the Lambert scandal.
"Why is everyone asking me?!? But I loved Adam Lambert's performance! So HOT! Only thing wrong w/ it I wasn't onstage making out w/ him 2! ;-)" McCain posted Sunday night.
I don't know why everyone is asking her either. But that certainly wasn't the answer I was expecting from her. The only way that comment would have been more controversial is if it had come from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.
And don't think they wouldn't say it if they thought it would increase ratings.
After all, it's just show business, right?
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette. Contact him at email@example.com.